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Publications 


— OF   THE-- 


Mississippi  Historical  Society 


Volume  IX 


/rf. 


,<-.  J— *• 
PUBLICATIONS  '% 


-OF 


THE  MISSISSIPPI 

HISTORICAL  SOCIETY 


EDITED  BY 

FRANKLIN  L.  RILEY 
Secretary 


OXFORD,  MISSISSIPPI 

PRINTED  FOR  THE  SOCIETY 

1906 


NEITHER  THE  EDITOR  NOR  THE  SOCIETY  ASSUMES  ANY  RESPONSIBILITY 
FOR  THB  OPINIONS  OR  STATEMENTS  OF  CONTRIBUTORS. 


F 

334 


PREFACE. 

This  volume  of  the  Publications  contains  for  the  most  part 
the  important  results  of  researches  in  Mississippi  history  that 
have  been  completed  since  the  appearance  of  Volume  VIII.  The 
first  part  of  the  volume  contains  a  number  of  important  contri- 
butions to  the  different  phases  of  State  history — military,  polit- 
ical, biographical,  literary,  religious,  economic,  and  aboriginal — 
which  have  hitherto  engaged  the  attention  of  investigators. 

The  preceding  volumes  of  this  series  have  been  devoted 
largely  to  the  publication  of  new  contributions  to  the  exclusion 
of  much  valuable  source  material  which  the  authorities  of  the 
Society  have  been  anxious  to  give  to  the  public.  Upon  the  sug- 
gestion of  the  editor  of  these  Publications  and  the  voluntary 
surrender  of  half  of  the  usual  appropriations  that  have  been 
made  to  the  Society  for  historical  publications,  the  Legislature 
of  the  State  has  provided  for  the  regular  and  systematic  publi- 
cation in  a  separate  series  of  all  source  materials  of  an  official 
character.  As  a  result  of  this  wise  policy  the  first  volume  of 
Mississippi  Territorial  Archives,  edited  by  Hon.  Dunbar  Row- 
land, Director  of  the  State  Department  of  Archives  and  History, 
appeared  in  1905.  The  Historical  Society  will  continue  to  pub- 
lish in  connection  with  "the  finished  products  of  research"  some 
of  the  most  valuable  unofficial  sources  of  State  history.  It  is 
hoped  that  in  the  future  more  space  in  its  Publications  will  be 
available  for  this  important  class  of  contributions.  The  reader 
will  be  gratified  to  find  three  valuable  contributions  of  this  char- 
acter in  the  current  volume. 

The  appearance  of  this  volume  marks  the  inauguration  of 
another  long-cherished  plan  of  the  editor, — the  republication  of 
very  rare  contributions  of  great  historical  value  which,  having 
been  originally  printed  in  ephemeral  form  in  the  remote  past, 
are  now  inaccessible  to  investigators.  The  demand  for  this 
class  of  publications  has  been  rendered  almost  imperative  by 
the  rapid  development  of  historical  investigation  in  Mississippi. 

F.  L.  R. 

UNIVERSITY,  MISSISSIPPI,  November  i,  1906. 


(5) 


CONTENTS. 


Preface 5 

Contents 7 

Officers  for  1906-07 8 

i.  Proceedings  of  Eighth   Public  Meeting  of  the  Mississippi  His- 
torical Society,  by  Dr.  Franklin  L.  Riley 9 

a.  A   Forgotten   Expedition   to    Pensacola   in   January,    1861,   by 

Judge  Baxter  McFarland 15 

3.  Mississippi  at  Gettysburg,  by  Col.  William  A.  Love 25 

"-4.  Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County,  by  Hon.  George  J.  Leftwich.  .      53 
5.  Reconstruction  and  its  Destruction  in  Hinds  County,  by  Hon. 

W.  Calvin  Wells 85 

6.  The  Enforcement  Act  of  1871  and  the  Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Missis- 
sippi, by  Hon.  J.  S.  McNeilly 109 

7.  A  Trip  from  Houston  to  Jackson,  Miss.,  in  1845,  by  Judge  J.  A. 

Orr 173 

8.  The  Presidential  Campaign  of  1844  in  Mississippi,  by  Prof.  J.  E. 

Walmsley 179 

9.  Life   and   Literary  Services  of  Dr.   John  W.   Monette,  by  Dr. 

Franklin  L.  Riley 199 

10.  The  Public  Services  of  E.  C.  Walthall,  by  Prof.  Alfred  W.  Garner.  239 

1 1 .  Monroe's  Efforts  in  Behalf  of  the   Mississippi  Valley  During  his 

Mission  to  France,  by  Dr.  Beverly  W.  Bond 255 

12.  A  Sketch  of  the  Old  Scotch  Settlement  at  Union  Church,  by 

Rev.  C.  W.  Graf  ton 263 

13.  Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  Through  Litigation  and 

Legislation,  by  Mr.  J.  W.  Wade 273 

14.  Historic  Localities  on  Noxubee  River,  by  Col.  William  A.  Love.    315 

15.  "A  Genuine  Account  of  the  Present  State  of  the  River  Missis- 

sippi," etc.,  Anonymous 323 

1 6.  A  Contribution  to  the  History  of  the  Colonization  Movement 

in  Mississippi,  by  Dr.  Franklin  L.  Riley 331 

17.  Life  of  Apushimataha,  by   Gideon  Lincecum 415 

1 8.  Trip  Through  the  Piney  Woods,  by  Col.  J.  F.  H.  Claiborne 487 

19.  A  Brief  History  of  the  Mississippi  Territory,  by  James  Hall.  .  .  .    539 

20.  Index 577 


OFFICERS  FOR  1906. 

PRESIDENT: 
GENERAL  STEPHEN  D.  LEE,  Columbus,  Mississippi. 

VICE-PRESIDENTS: 

DR.  R.  W.  JONES,  Laurel,  Mississippi. 
HON.  E.  F.  NOEL,  Lexington,  Mississippi. 

ARCHIVIST: 
CHANCELLOR  R.  B.  FULTON,  University,  Mississippi. 

SECRETARY  AND  TREASURER'. 

DR.  FRANKLIN  L.  RILEY,  University,  Mississippi. 

EXECUTIVE  COMMITTEE: 
(In  addition  to  the  officers.) 

HON.  J.  R.  PRESTON,  Jackson,  Mississippi. 

MR.  JAMES  M.  WHITE,  West  Point,  Mississippi. 

PROF.  GEORGE  H.  BRUNSON,  Clinton,  Mississippi. 

BISHOP  CHARLES  B.  GALLOWAY,  Jackson,  Mississippi. 

All  persons  who  are  interested  in  the  work  of  the  Society  and  desire  to 
promote  its  objects  are  invited  to  become  members. 

There  is  no  initiation  fee.  The  only  cost  to  members  is,  annual  dues, 
$2.00,  or  life  dues,  $30.00.  Members  receive  all  Publications  of  the 
Society  free  of  charge. 

Address  all  communications  to  the  Secretary  and  Treasurer  of  the 
Mississippi  Historical  Society,  University  P.  O.,  Mississippi. 


(8) 


PROCEEDINGS  OF  THE  EIGHTH  PUBLIC  MEETING  OF 
THE  MISSISSIPPI  HISTORICAL  SOCIETY. 

BY  FRANKLIN  L.  RILEY,  Secretary. 

The  eighth  public  meeting  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society 
was  held  at  Jackson,  Miss.,  on  January  4th  and  sth,  1906.  All 
the  sessions  were  presided  over  by  Gen.  Stephen  D.  Lee,  of 
Columbus,  Miss.,  the  efficient  President  of  the  Society. 

The  first  session  of  the  meeting,  which  was  held  in  the  Hall 
of  Representatives  on  Thursday  evening,  January  4th,  was 
attended  by  a  large  and  distinguished  audience.  Supt.  E.  L. 
Bailey,  of  the  Jackson  city  schools,  delivered  an  eloquent  and 
inspiring  address  of  welcome,  which  was  responded  to  by  the 
Second  Vice-President  of  the  Society,  Hon.  E.  F.  Noel,  of  Lex- 
ington, Miss.  Mr.  Noel's  address  was  devoted  principally  to 
the  historic  services  which  Mississippi  has  rendered  to  the 
world,  in  being  the  first  government  to  recognize  the  right  of 
married  women  to  own  property  in  their  own  name,  and  in 
providing  for  a  state  school  for  the  higher  education  of  its  women. 
It  was  also  the  first  Southern  State  to  adopt  suffrage  reforms 
not  in  conflict  with  the  war  amendments  to  the  Federal  Con- 
stitution, that  placed  the  control  of  its  government  in  the  hands 
of  its  white  citizens. 

After  referring  in  appreciative  terms  to  the  valuable  services 
rendered  by  the  society  through  its  publishing  activity  Gen. 
Lee  introduced  Hon.  W.  Calvin  Wells,  Jr.,  who  in  the  absence 
of  the  author  presented  a  paper  by  Col.  Wm.  A.  Love  on  "Mis- 
sissippi at  Gettysburg"  (see  page  25).  At  the  conclusion  of 
this  paper  General  Lee  gave  some  interesting  facts,  which  it 
recalled  to  his  mind,  concerning  the  heroic  death  of  General 
Barksdale,  who  lost  his  life  in  this  bloody  fight. 

Prof.  J.  W.  Garner,  a  native  Mississippian,  who  is  now  Pro- 
fessor of  Political  Science  in  the  University  of  Illinois  and  who 
has  made  some  valuable  contributions  to  the  Publications  of 
the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  was  then  introduced  to  the 
audience.  He  made  some  interesting  remarks  regarding  the 
rapid  and  highly  gratifying  development  of  historical  work  in 

(9) 


io  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

the  South  and  particularly  in  Mississippi,  which  has  been  in  the 
forefront  of  this  great  movement.  He  made  special  reference 
to  the  valuable  work  that  is  now  being  done  in  the  publication 
of  county  histories  of  reconstruction,  and  stated  that  this  local 
work  must  be  thoroughly  done  before  a  true  history  of  recon- 
struction in  Mississippi  can  be  written.  He  also  made  some 
remarks  with  reference  to  the  personnel  of  the  Legislature  of 
Mississippi  in  1870,  contrasting  it  with  the  Legislature  of  the 
State  which  had  just  assembled.  This  contrast  was  extended 
to  the  local  officials  in  the  different  parts  of  the  State.  Especial 
attention  was  directed  to  the  rate  of  taxation  under  negro  and 
carpetbag  rule,  when  the  levy  rose  from  i  to  14  mills  in  four 
years. 

General  Lee  appointed  the  following  Committee  on  Nomi- 
nations: Hon.  Dunbar  Rowland,  Dr.  Beverly  W.  Bond,  Jr., 
and  Hon.  J.  R.  Preston.  The  Secretary  then  announced  the 
program  for  the  second  and  third  sessions  of  the  meeting  and 
the  Society  adjourned  to  meet  the  following  morning  in  the 
Hall  of  History. 

The  second  session  of  the  meeting  convened  in  the  place 
appointed,  January  5th,  at  10:30  a.  m.  A  valuable  contribu- 
tion, entitled  "A  Sketch  of  the  Old  Scotch  Settlement  at  Union 
Church"  (see  page  263)  by  Rev.  C.  W.  Grafton,  was  read  by  the 
Secretary  of  the  Society.  General  Lee  then  made  some  remarks 
about  the  importance  of  the  Scotch  element  in  our  population. 
The  Secretary  of  the  Society  also  called  attention  to  an  Irish 
settlement  in  Jasper  County  and  to  other  Scotch  settlements 
that  were  made  in  Mississippi  at  an  early  date  and  spoke  of  the 
importance  of  promptness  in  the  writing  of  their  histories.  He 
also  made  some  suggestions  that  would  be  helpful  to  investi- 
gators undertaking  this  work.  Hon.  W.  Calvin  Wells  spoke 
of  the  records  of  the  Clinton  Presbytery,  the  existence  of  which 
he  had  learned  of  accidentally. 

An  interesting  paper  by  Judge  Baxter  McFarland  on  "A  For- 
gotten Expedition  to  Pensacola,  in  January,  1861"  (see  page 
15),  was  presented  to  the  Society.  General  Lee  then  made 
some  remarks  on  the  number  of  Southern  troops  in  the  war, 
stating  that  he  had  changed  his  mind  on  the  subject  at  least 
three  times.  He  now  thinks  that  on  January  18,  1864,  there 


Proceedings  of  the  Eighth  Public  Meeting — Riley.          1 1 

were  about  480,000  men  on  the  Confederate  rolls,  that  there 
were  altogether  about  8,000,000  men  enlisted  in  the  Southern 
army  and  that  it  lost  over  2,000,000.  The  Secretary  of  the 
Society  called  attention  to  Garner  and  Lodge's  History  of  the 
United  States,  written  by  a  Southern  and  a  Northern  man,  as  the 
latest  attempt  to  make  an  impartial  history  of  our  country. 
He  also  expressed  a  doubt  whether  the  people  of  either  section 
are  prepared  to  accept  an  absolutely  impartial  history.  Hon. 
W.  Calvin  Wells  related  his  experiences  in  attempting  to  get 
data  for  a  history  of  his  regiment.  He  said  that  the  greatest 
difficulty  arises  from  the  fact  that  the  roster  of  a  company  one 
day  is  not  a  roster  of  that  company  the  next.  He  referred  to 
one  company  that  has  not  to-day  a  single  survivor,  and  urged 
upon  the  Society  the  importance  of  doing  prompt  work  in  this 
field  of  investigation.  The  Secretary  then  announced  the 
program  for  the  third  session,  and  the  Society  adjourned. 

The  third  session  of  the  meeting  was  held  in  the  Hall  of  Rep- 
resentatives on  the  evening  of  Friday,  January  5th.  Dr. 
Beverly  W.  Bond,  Jr.,  Assistant  Professor  of  History  in  the 
University  of  Mississippi,  read  a  valuable  paper,  entitled  "Mon- 
roe's Efforts  in  Behalf  of  the  Mississippi  Valley  During  His 
Mission  to  France"  (see  page  255).  Hon.  W.  Calvin  Wells 
made  a  report  on  the  progress  of  his  researches  in  the  history  of 
"Reconstruction  and  its  Destruction  in  Hinds  County"  (see 
page  85).  General  Lee  then  made  some  valuable  observa- 
tions on  the  important  services  rendered  by  the  Ku  Klux  Klan 
in  Mississippi.  Prof.  Brunson  read  part  of  a  contribution  on 
"A  Brief  History  of  Political  Parties  in  Mississippi,"  which  he 
is  preparing  for  the  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical 
Society.1  The  abstract  of  a  paper  on  "The  Life  and  Literary 
Services  of  Dr.  John  Monette"  (see  page  199)  was  presented  by 
the  writer. 

The  following  papers  were  presented  by  title:  "Grierson's 
Raid,"2  by  Dean  S.  A.  Forbes,  of  the  University  of  Illinois, 
Urbana,  111.;  "Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County"  (see  page 
53),  by  Hon.  George  J.  Leftwich,  of  Aberdeen,  Miss.;  "The 

'This  paper  was  not  completed  in  time  to  appear  in  this  volume  of 
the  Publications. 

3This  paper  was  not  submitted  to  the  editor  in  time  for  insertion  in 
this  volume  of  the  Publications. 


12  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Enforcement  Act  of  1871  and  the  Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi" 
(see  page  109),  by  Hon.  J.  S.  McNeilly,  of  Vicksburg,  Miss.; 
"Some  Notes  on  the  Reconstruction  Period,"2  by  Capt.  W.  T. 
Ratliff,  of  Raymond,  Miss. ;  "Reconstruction  in  Pontotoc 
County,"2  by  Mr.  Luther  A.  Smith,  of  Toccopola,  Miss.;  "A 
Trip  to  Jackson  in  1840"  (see  page  173),  by  Judge  J.  A.  Orr, 
of  Columbus,  Miss.;  "The  Public  Services  of  E.  C.  Walthall" 
(see  page  239),  by  Prof.  Alfred  W.  Garner,  of  Simmons  College, 
Abilene,  Texas.;  "Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board 
Through  Litigation  and  Legislation"  (see  page  273),  by  Mr. 
J.  W.  Wade,  of  Greenwood,  Miss.;  "History  of  the  Formation 
of  Monroe  County,"2  by  Mr.  H.  S.  Halbert,  of  Montgomery, 
Alabama;  "Historic  Localities  on  Noxubee  River"  (see  page 
315),  by  Col.  Wm.  A.  Love,  of  Crawford,  Miss.;  "Pearl  River 
and  Biloxi  in  Early  Maps  with  Illustrations,"2  by  Mr.  Wm. 
Beer,  of  New  Orleans,  La.;  "A  Contribution  to  the  History  of 
the  Mississippi  Colonization  Society"  (see  page  331),  by  Dr. 
Franklin  L.  Riley,  of  the  University  of  Mississippi;  "The  Devel- 
opment of  Manufacturing  in  Mississippi,"2  by  Dr.  A.  M.  Muck- 
enfuss,  of  the  University  of  Mississippi;  "The  Presidential 
Campaign  of  1844  in  Mississippi"  (see  page  179),  by  Prof.  J.  E. 
Walmsley,  of  Millsaps  College,  Jackson,  Miss. 

The  Committee  on  Nominations  submitted  the  following 
report,  which  was  unanimously  adopted: 

President,  General  Stephen  D.  Lee;  First  Vice-President,  Dr.  R.  W. 
Jones;  Second  Vice- President,  Hon.  E.  F.  Noel;  Archivist,  Chancellor 
R.  B.  Fulton;  Secretary  and  Treasurer,  Dr.  Franklin  L.  Riley;  Execu- 
tive Committee  (in  addition  to  the  officers),  President  J.  R.  Preston; 
Mr.  James  M.  White;  Prof.  George  H.  Brunson;  Bishop  Charles  B. 
Galloway. 

Hon.  J.  R.  Preston  offered  the  following  resolution,  which 
was  unanimously  adopted: 

"Resolved,  That  the  thanks  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society  are 
respectfully  tendered  to  the  citizens  of  Jackson  for  their  courtesies  and 
to  the  honorable  Legislature  for  the  use  of  the  Hall  of  Representatives, 
and  for  the  liberality  they  have  shown  in  the  appropriations  to  support 
the  work  of  the  Society  and  of  the  Department  of  Archives  and  History. 

"We  congratulate  the  State  upon  the  splendid  results  achieved  by  the 
Department  of  Archives  and  History,  and  urgently  beseech  the  repre- 

2  This  paper  was  not  submitted  to  the  editor  in  time  for  insertion  in 
this  volume  of  the  Publications. 


Proceedings  of  the  Eighth  Public  Meeting — Riley.          13 

sentatives  to  continue  appropriations  necessary  to  expand  and  carry 
forward  this  work,  which  is  reflecting  lustre  upon  the  patriotism  of  the 
State,  preserving  the  renown  of  the  noble  dead,  promoting  the  pride  of 
the  hopeful  living,  and  setting  an  example  to  be  followed  by  the  immortal 
unborn." 

The  Society  then  adjourned  subject  to  the  call  of  the  Execu- 
tive Committee. 


A  FORGOTTEN  EXPEDITION  TO  PENSACOLA  IN  JAN- 
UARY, 1861. 

BY  BAXTER  MCFARLAND'. 

Early  in  January,  1861,  an  expeditionary  force  was  sent  from 
Mississippi  to  the  vicinity  of  Pensacola,  Fla.,  to  which  only  one 
or  two  State  histories  make  even  passing  reference  and  concern- 
ing which  no  official  paper  or  record  can  be  found  in  the  State 
archives. 

The  expedition  was  projected  during  the  most  critical  period 
in  the  history  of  the  State,  at  a  time  when  every  movement 
made  and  every  step  taken  by  her  people  for  the  protection  of 
their  liberties  and  autonomy  have  historic  value.  Although  it 
was  unattended  with  visibly  notable  results,  it  well  illustrated 
the  temper  and  spirit  of  the  South  in  that  dark  hour,  and  should 
therefore  not  be  suffered  to  pass  into  oblivion  without  an  effort 
to  rescue  it  from  that  fate. 

The  desire  to  do  this,  at  least  partially,  led  to  the  preparation 
of  this  brief  and  imperfect  sketch. 

Questions  touching  rights  of  the  people  of  the  South  had  long 

[itated  the  entire  country,  and  the  sections  became  more  and 

more  estranged  as  these  controversies  went  on,  but  the  South 


05) 


!6  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

was  reluctant  to  separate  from  the  Union  and  delayed  so  long 
as  it  had  hope  that  it  could  remain  with  honor  and  safety. 

The  election  of  Mr.  Lincoln  in  the  fall  of  1860  put  an  end  to 
such  hopes. 

It  was  felt  by  nearly  all  that  the  day  of  argument,  of  protest, 
of  appeal,  had  forever  passed,  and  that  there  were  left  but  two 
alternatives — submission  or  separation. 

The  South  chose  the  latter  as  the  only  course  open  to  it  com- 
patible with  the  honor  and  dignity  of  a  free  and  brave  people. 

A  sense  of  wrong  and  injustice,  constantly  growing  deeper  as 
the  forces  threatening  them  grew  more  and  more  formidable 
and  aggressive,  finally  overcame  the  lingering  desire  to  remain 
in  the  old  Union,  and  the  Southern  people  at  last  turned  their 
faces  towards  a  government  to  be  established  by  and  for  them- 
selves, and  soon  became  so  much  absorbed  in  the  affairs  of  the 
new  situation  that  all  other  concerns,  whether  of  business  or 
pleasure,  were  put  aside.  Every  thought,  every  feeling,  every 
effort  was  given  in  support  of  the  great  cause. 

there  becoming  part  of  the  Eleventh  Mississippi  regiment,  which  was 
mustered  into  the  Confederate  service  at  Lynchburg,  Va.,  on  May  13,  1861. 

He  was  "orderly"  sergeant,  then  lieutenant,  and  participated  in  the 
battle  of  Seven  Pines  and  in  the  fighting  around  Richmond,  receiving  a 
desperate  wound  at  Gaines  Mill.  In  the  spring  of  1863  he  was  appointed 
adjutant  of  the  Forty-first  Mississippi  regiment,  transferred  to  the  Army 
of  Tennessee,  and  took  part  with  that  regiment  in  the  battles  of  Chicka- 
mauga  and  Missionary  Ridge.  In  the  spring  of  1864  he  was  appointed 
assistant  adjutant-general,  with  the  rank  of  major,  and  was  in  the  fight- 
ing around  Dalton,  the  battle  of  Resaca,  the  Atlanta  campaign,  Frank- 
lin, Nashville,  etc. 

After  the  close  of  the  war  he  practiced  law  for  several  years  at  Houston, 
in  partnership  with  Judge  J.  A.  Orr  and  Col.  J.  Robert  Mclntosh. 

On  the  i  sth  of  June,  1870,  he  married  Miss  Mary  A.  Holliday,  daughter 
of  Col.  John  Holliday,  of  Aberdeen,  Miss.,  and  maternal  granddaughter 
of  Gen.  Jesse  Speight,  who  at  the  time  of  his  death  (1847)  was  a  United 
States  Senator  from  this  State.  Shortly  afterwards  Judge  McFarland 
removed  to  Aberdeen  and  formed  a  partnership  with  Gen.  Reuben  Davis. 
He  is  still  actively  engaged  in  the  practice  of  his  profession,  being  now  in 
partnership  with  his  youngest  son,  Ben  H.  McFarland. 

On  the  agth  of  August,  1883,  he  was  appointed  Chancellor  of  the  first 
chancery  district,  which  office  he  held  for  sixteen  years — four  terms  of 
four  years  each.  He  has  been  first  vice-president  of  the  State  Bar  Asso- 
ciation and  has  often  been  a  delegate  to  county  and  State  Democratic 
conventions,  but  has  never  sought  nor  desired  political  office.  In  addi- 
tion to  his  professional  duties  he  has  large  planting  and  other  business 
interests  that  demand  much  of  his  time. 

A  more  detailed  sketch  of  the  life  of  Judge  McFarland  will  be  found  in 
Goodspeed's  Biographical  and  Historical  Memoirs  of  Mississippi,  Vol.  I, 
p.  1188,  and  in  Confederate  Military  History,  Vol.  VII,  p.  410. — EDITOR. 


A  Forgotten  Expedition  to  Pensacola. — McFarland.        17 

Preparations  for  the  war  impending  were  everywhere  energet- 
ically pushed,  with  the  grim  determination  to  meet  force  with 
force,  if  resorted  to.  The  people  of  the  South  were  agitated  and 
excited  as  never  before  in  the  history  of  the  country.  The  young 
and  the  old,  men,  women  and  children  of  every  condition  in 
life,  were  roused  to  the  highest  pitch.  The  young  men  rushed 
to  arms  amidst  the  fervent  plaudits  of  its  devoted  women. 

Secession  was  regarded  as  the  proper  means  of  effecting  a 
separation,  and  shortly  after  the  November  election  of  1860 
conventions  were  called  in  a  number  of  the  States  to  bring  it 
about.  The  Mississippi  "secession"  convention  met  on  January 
6,  1861,  and  passed  the  ordinance  of  secession  on  the  9th;  that 
of  Florida  met  January  3d,  seceding  on  the  roth ;  and  that  of 
Alabama  assembled  on  January  7  and  seceded  on  the  nth. 
South  Carolina  had  already  seceded,  and  other  States  it  was  cer- 
tain would  soon  follow. 

That  the  seceding  States  would  at  once  secure  and  retain  pos- 
session so  far  as  practicable  of  the  forts,  arsenals,  arms,  equip- 
ments, etc.,  within  their  borders,  rendering  mutual  assistance 
where  needful  for  the  accomplishment  of  that  purpose,  was  a 
foregone  conclusion.  The  forts  and  arsenals  in  the  neighborhood 
of  Pensacola  were  looked  upon  as  highly  important  strongholds  in 
the  defence  of  the  harbor  and  coast,  and  their  possession  of  great 
value  to  the  South,  especially  to  the  Gulf  States,  and  the  author- 
ities of  Mississippi  and  Alabama  determined  to  send  troops  to 
assist  Florida  in  seizing  and  holding  them  in  advance  of  the  for- 
mation of  the  new  general  government.  On  the  8th  of  January, 
1 86 1,  Governor  Moore  of  Alabama  ordered  the  Second  Alabama 
regiment,  Col.  Tennant  Lomax  commanding,  to  the  neighbor- 
hood of  the  Warrington  Navy  Yard  and  of  Fort  Barancas,  and 
about  the  same  time  Governor  John  J.  Pettus  ordered  a  force 
consisting  of  eight  companies  of  Mississippi  troops  to  meet  on 
the  nth  of  January  at  Enterprise,  where  they,  or  several  of 
them,  assembled  on  that  date. 

Whilst  rendezvousing  at  that  place  the  soldiers,  nearly  all  of 
whom  were  educated  young  gentlemen — many  of  them  highly 
gifted — spent  most  of  the  time  in  making  and  listening  to  patriotic 
and  inspiring  speeches.  At  night,  by  the  flickering  light  of  pine- 
knot  fires,  mounted  upon  boxes,  barrels,  etc.,  scattered  over  the 


i8  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

camp,  could  be  seen  eloquent  orators,  surrounded  by  dusky 
groups  of  enthusiastic  young  soldiers,  whose  impassioned  cheers 
rang  wildly  out  over  the  shadowy  forests.  The  feeling  was 
intense  and  the  bosoms  of  these  gallant  volunteers  glowed  with 
ardent  patriotism.  The  sudden  call  to  amrs  found  them  ready, 
and  in  responding  they  fully  expected  soon  to  be  fronting  the 
foe  in  deadly  conflict. 

On  the  1 2th  of  January,  1861,  two  days  after  Florida  had 
seceded,  Lieut.  A.  J.  Slemmer,  First  U.  S.  artillery,  in  command 
of  a  small  garrison  in  Fort  Barancas,  probably  to  avert  an  antici- 
pated demand  for  its  surrender,  evacuated  that  place,  spiking 
over  forty  guns  there  and  at  the  Navy  Yard,  transferring  the 
garrison  to  Fort  Pickens,  situated  on  the  west  of  Santa  Rosa 
Island,  whence  it  commanded  the  approach  to  Pensacola  Harbor 
and  Bay. 

On  the  1 3th  of  January  the  force  gathered  at  Enterprise  was 
sent  by  rail  to  Mobile  and  thence  by  steamers  to  the  Navy  Yard 
at  Pensacola.  These  companies,  along  with  other  volunteer 
organizations,  had  been  formed  in  anticipation  of  war  between 
the  sections,  were  armed  and  equipped,  and  their  esprit  de  corps 
was  superb.  Notwithstanding  there  was  no  authority  to  send 
them  beyond  the  borders  of  their  own  State,  the  volunteers  did 
not  hesitate.  In  this  crisis  they  pushed  forward  with  patriotic 
alacrity  to  the  assistance  of  their  neighbors  and  ally. 

The  companies  were  the  "Chickasaw  Guards"  (of  which  the 
writer  was  a  member),  from  Chickasaw  County,  Wm.  F.  Tucker 
captain,  L.  W.  Galbraith  first  lieutenant,  J.  H.  Moore  second 
lieutenant,  Dr.  W.  C.  White  third  lieutenant;  the  "Columbus 
Riflemen,"  from  Lowndes  County,  Charles  H.  Abert  captain, 
W.  E.  Baldwin  first  lieutenant,  Sam  D.  Harris  second  lieu- 
tenant, J.  W.  Benoit  third  lieutenant;  the  "Lowndes  South- 
rons," from  Lowndes  County,  Wm.  B.  Wade  captain,  George  H. 
Lipscomb  first  lieutenant,  T.  P.  Shields  second  lieutenant,  W.  C. 
Richards  third  lieutenant;  the  "Prairie  Guards,"  from  Noxubee 
and  Lowndes  Counties,  J.  W.  T.  Hairston  captain,  A.  H.  Led- 
better  first  lieutenant,  James  H.  Hairston  second  lieutenant, 
Wm.  H.  Gray  third  lieutenant;  the  "Noxubee  Rifles,"  from 
Noxubee  County,  George  T.  Weir  captain,  J.  H.  Rives  first  lieu- 
tenant, Wm.  Longstreet  second  lieutenant,  Joseph  Koger  Dixon 


A  Forgotten  Expedition  to  Pensacola. — McFarland.       19 

third  lieutenant;  the  "Enterprise  Guards,"  from  Clarke  County, 
John  W.  O'Ferrall  captain,  W.  S.  Reynolds  second  lieutenant, 
and  Andrew  E.  Moody  third  lieutenant  (R.  Stewart  Weir  re- 
signed as  first  lieutenant  a  few  days  before  the  company  started, 
was  later  captain  of  another  company,  and  died  in  1862  with 
that  rank) ;  the  "Lauderdale  Rifles,"  from  Lauderdale  County, 
Con.  Rea  captain  (Will  Whitaker,  Laines  Lasley,  Dr.  A.  J.  Craw- 
ford—or Crumpton,  or  Wm.  Spinks — were  the  lieutenants,  as 
well  as  can  now  be  ascertained) ;  the  "Quitman  Light  Infantry," 
from  Clarke  County,  J.  L.  Duck  captain,  F.  G.  Nicholson  first 
lieutenant,  William  Hughes  second  lieutenant,  J.  E.  Hardy 
third  lieutenant,  as  well  as  now  can  be  learned. 

There  has  been  much  difficulty  in  ascertaining  the  names  of 
some  of  the  lieutenants  in  the  three  companies  last  mentioned, 
the  memories  of  the  few  members  of  those  companies  who  can 
be  found  at  this  late  day  have  grown  dim,  but  no  pains  have  been 
spared  to  give  the  names  of  the  officers  of  all  the  companies  in 
the  expedition  as  accurately  as  possible. 

At  Mobile  the  Mississippians  were  joined  by  two  Alabama 
companies,  the  "Alabama  Light  Dragoons,"  Capt.  Theodore 
O'Hara  (author  of  "The  Bivouac  of  the  Dead"),  and  the  "South 
Alabama  Rangers,"  Lieutenant  Ripley. 

On  the  way  from  Mobile  to  Pensacola  the  weather  was  rough, 
the  waves  high,  and  many  of  the  soldiers  suffered  greatly  from 
seasickness.  When  the  steamer  bearing  part  of  these  troops 
passed  Fort  Pickens,  at  the  entrance  of  Pensacola  Harbor,  the 
Federal  garrison  stood  to  their  guns,  apparently  with  the  inten- 
tion of  firing  into  and  sinking  the  frail  craft  and  all  on  board, 
but  the  demonstration  proved  to  be  no  more  than  a  military 
observance,  and  the  troops  kept  on  their  way,  landing  without 
molestation  upon  the  Navy  Yard  pier,  where  they  disembarked, 
the  companies  marching  to  the  marine  hospital,  in  which  they 
quartered  during  the  campaign. 

The  position  to  which  the  Mississippi  troops  were  assigned  was 
about  one  mile  east  of  the  Navy  Yard  and  600  yards  from  the 
beach,  fronting  Fort  Pickens.  This  fort  was  then  occupied  by 
a  garrison  of  about  eighty  men  under  Lieutenant  Slemmer,  and 
was  distant  about  two  and  three-fourths  miles. 


2O  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Fort  Barancas  was  to  the  west  about  half  a  mile,  and  was 
occupied  by  the  "Montgomery  Blues"  and  possibly  by  other  Ala- 
bama troops.  That  State  then  had  upon  the  ground  a  regiment 
under  command  of  Colonel  Lomax.  Florida  ordered  two  com- 
panies to  Pensacola,  but  the  order  was  countermanded  before 
they  reached  there,  and  therefore  that  State  had  very  few  troops 
in  the  vicinity  at  that  time. 

A  day  or  two  was  spent  by  the  soldiers,  mostly  in  arranging 
their  quarters  and  in  preparing  ball  cartridges,  then  almost 
exclusively  in  use,  under  orders  to  be  ready  with  fifty  rounds  of 
ammunition  and  upon  the  alert  for  a  call  to  arms  at  any  moment. 

On  the  1 7th  day  of  January  the  companies  were  organized  into 
a  regiment,  of  which  Captain  Charles  A.  Abert  was  elected  colonel, 
Capt.  William  B.  Wade  lieutenant-colonel,  and  Samuel  F.  Butler 
major,  the  election  having  been  made  by  the  company  officers. 
Captain  Duck  was  appointed  adjutant,  William  H.  Brown  quar- 
termaster, Charles  S.  Morton  or  Hugh  Topp  commissary,  Rich- 
ard Murray  quartermaster-sergeant,  H.  Lyons  sergeant-major, 
Dr.  W.  D.  Lyles  surgeon,  Dr.  B.  A.  Vaughan  and  Dr.  C.  M.  Dick- 
inson assistant  surgeons. 

The  companies  were  industriously  drilled  upon  the  deep  sand 
of  the  shore,  almost  blinding  in  its  glittering  whiteness,  and  the 
men  feasted  upon  fish  and  oysters.  They  also  assisted  in  the 
erection  of  sand  batteries  upon  the  shore  fronting  Fort  Pickens 
and  Santa  Rosa  Island.  In  these  labors  they  were  joined  by 
Alabama  troops  under  Colonel  Lomax. 

There  were  regimental  dress  parades  in  the  evening,  guard 
mountings  in  the  morning ;  and  reveille  became  a  familiar  early 
morning  sound  to  the  unwilling  ears  of  the  drowsy  soldiers,  who 
quickly  conformed,  however,  to  the  unaccustomed  routine.  In 
a  few  days  the  soldiers  of  each  side  settled  into  a  state  of  watch- 
ing and  waiting,  after  which  little  of  interest  occurred — nothing 
save  the  dull  routine  of  camp  life.  Occasionally  some  unusual 
movement  of  the  Brooklyn,  Wyandotte,  and  one  or  two  other 
United  States  war  ships,  hovering  in  the  offing  out  near  Fort 
Pickens,  attracted  attention,  but  it  soon  became  apparent  that 
for  some  time  at  least  no  attempt  would  be  made  to  retake  the 
forts. 


A  Forgotten  Expedition  to  Pensacola. — McFarland.        21 

Meantime,  in  those  days  of  tense  excitement  and  strenuous 
activities,  developments  were  swiftly  going  forward,  and  the 
phases  of  affairs  constantly  changing  as  events  took  their  rapid 
course.  New  objective  points  and  other  theaters  of  military 
operations  swung  into  view  and  soon  lessened  the  early  impor- 
tance of  Pensacola  and  its  surroundings.  Attention  quickly 
turned  to  these  later  centers  of  activity  and  the  immediate  need 
for  troops  elsewhere  began  to  be  realized.  The  sudden  expedi- 
tion to  Pensacola,  having  practically  accomplished  the  purposes 
for  which  it  was  sent,  was  nearing  its  end. 

On  the  jist  of  January  Gen.  Charles  Clarke  came  down  from 
Mississippi  to  look  over  the  situation.  In  the  condition  of  affairs 
at  that  time  it  was  deemed  unadvisable  to  precipitate  hostilities 
by  an  attack  upon  Fort  Pickens,  especially  with  new  troops, 
destitute  of  artillery  and  supplies,  and  it  was  evident  that  no 
early  effort  would  be  made  by  the  Federal  troops  to  recover  the 
forts  in  possession  of  the  Southern  soldiers.  Neither  side  was 
quite  ready  to  take  the  initiative  in  hostilities.  Both  were  ener- 
getically pushing  preparations  for  the  great  conflict,  and  both 
acted  with  wary  circumspection  in  the  pause  before  the  storm 
broke. 

There  being  no  necessity  for  the  Mississippi  troops  to  remain 
longer  at  that  point,  and  the  limited  fund  for  their  maintenance 
having  been  exhausted,  Gen.  Charles  Clarke,  on  the  ist  of  Feb- 
ruary, 1861,  "mustered  out"  the  companies  from  this  State,  and 
on  the  4th  of  February  the  "Chickasaw  Guards,"  the  "Prairie 
Guards,"  the  "Lauderdale  Rifles"  (which  disbanded),  and  the 
"Quitman  Light  Infantry"  embarked  upon  the  steamer  Dick 
Keyes  for  Mobile,  proceeding  thence  by  rail  to  their  respective 
homes,  arriving  about  February  6th.  The  remaining  companies 
left  camp  on  the  6th  and  reached  their  homes  on  the  ;th  and  8th 
of  February. 

This  military  episode — sudden  and  brief — occurred  nearly 
forty -six  years  ago  and  has  long  since  been  forgotten,  but  it 
must  be  judged  in  the  light  of  contemporaneous  conditions 
rather  than  by  visible  military  results.  It  was  regarded  at  the 
time  as  of  significant  importance,  aroused  great  interest  and 
enthusiasm,  and  was  the  subject  of  wide  and  excited  comment 
at  home  and  abroad.  It  strengthened  the  determination  and 


22  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

increased  the  confidence  of  the  people  all  over  the  South,  and  was 
everywhere  regarded  as  a  test  of  the  spirit,  devotion  and  purpose 
of  her  people. 

It  was  the  first  aggressive  movement  in  which  Southern  States 
acted  in  concert,  and  dispelled  all  doubt  as  to  their  future  coop- 
eration. The  moral  effect  greatly  exceeded  in  value  and  impor- 
tance all  other  resulting  physical  advantages.  It  is,  therefore, 
perhaps  impossible  for  any  to  measure  its  full  influence  except 
those  who  felt  and  observed  it.  Until  Sumter  it  was  the 
most  formidable  of  the  operations  in  which  separate  States  acted 
together.  Knowledge  of  this  intended  military  movement  in 
aid  of  Florida  doubtless  hastened  the  abandonment  of  several 
other  important  forts  and  arsenals  in  that  State,  as  well  as  of 
others  along  the  coast  in  other  States,  and  quickened  movements 
to  capture  all  the  forts  in  the  borders  of  the  South.  Very  soon 
Fort  Pickens  and  Sumter  were  all  that  held  out. 

The  young  Mississippians  in  that  expedition  were  nearly  all 
scions  of  the  best  families  in  the  State  and  the  highest  types  of 
Southern  gentlemen  of  the  olden  times,  and  in  the  mighty  con- 
flict that  soon  followed  displayed  a  constancy  and  valor  rarely 
equaled  and  never  surpassed,  freely  shedding  their  blood,  many 
of  them  yielding  their  lives,  in  defence  of  a  cause  they  believed 
right. 

A  number  of  them  rose  to  military  commands  of  importance. 
Capt.  William  F.  Tucker,  after  serving  in  Virginia  one  year  at 
the  head  of  his  company,  the  "Chickasaw  Guards"  (Company  H 
in  the  Eleventh  Mississippi  infantry  regiment),  raised  the  Forty- 
first  Mississippi  regiment,  of  which  he  at  once  became  colonel, 
and  later  was  made  a  brigadier-general.  He  was  twice  severely 
wounded,  first  in  one,  then  in  the  other  arm,  and  after  having 
passed  through  the  perils  of  the  war  was  foully  assassinated  at  his 
home  a  few  years  after  its  close.  A  gallant  soldier,  a  splendid 
officer,  impetuously  brave,  he  was  a  man  of  heroic  mold.  The 
writer  served  in  intimate  relations  with  him  through  most  of  the 
war  and  cannot  forbear,  in  passing,  this  brief  tribute  to  the  char- 
acter and  worth  of  a  dead  comrade.  He  was  a  patriot,  a  noble 
gentleman,  and  a  good  man. 

Maj.  Sam  F.  Butler  became  lieutenant-colonel  of  the  Eleventh 
Mississippi  regiment — as  gallant  a  command  as  ever  met  a  foe — 


A  Forgotten  Expedition  to  Pensacola. — McFarland.       23 

and  along  with  the  lamented  Frank  Liddell,  its  knightly  colonel, 
and  the  brave  T.  Sidney  Evans  (who  was  with  the  Pensacola 
expedition),  its  major  fell,  as  became  soldiers,  at  Sharpsburg. 

Kennon  McElroy,  a  member  of  the  "Lauderdale  Rifles," 
became  colonel  of  the  Thirteenth  Mississippi  regiment,  under 
Longstreet,  and  perished  at  the  head  of  his  men  in  a  bloody  charge 
upon  Fort  Sanders,  near  Knoxville,  Tenn. 

Capt.  W.  E.  Baldwin  became  colonel  of  the  famous  Fourteenth 
Mississippi  regiment,  later  was  a  brigadier-general,  and  unfortu- 
nately, toward  the  close  of  the  war,  was  killed  by  a  fall  from  his 
horse  in  Mobile. 

Captain  George  H.  Lipscomb,  as  major  of  the  Twenty -seventh 
Mississippi  regiment,  fell  gallantly  in  the  sanguinary  battle  of 
Perry ville,  Ky. 

Capt.  William  B.  Wade  had  a  distinguished  career  as  colonel 
of  a  cavalry  regiment,  often  in  command  of  his  brigade,  and  was 
murdered  in  Columbus  shortly  after  the  war  by  soldiers  of  the 
Federal  garrison  at  that  place. 

Capt.  J.  W.  O'Ferrall  became  a  brigadier-general  of  State 
troops,  and  died  about  1894  at  Enterprise. 

Many  others  became  officers,  and  all  the  members  of  the  com- 
panies in  that  campaign,  save  a  few  too  old  for  service,  served 
with  distinguished  gallantry,  a  large  proportion  of  them  having 
been  killed  or  disabled  during  the  war. 

After  long  and  patient  inquiry,  this  sketch  contains  all  that 
has  been  ascertained  of  that  campaign.  But  few  of  those  in  it 
survive,  and  most  of  the  survivors  accessible  have  forgotten 
much  that  took  place,  and  there  are  no  records  of  the  expedition, 
so  far  as  known  to  the  writer. 


MISSISSIPPI  AT  GETTYSBURG. 
BY  WILLIAM  A.  LovE.1 

It  is  not  the  purpose  of  the  writer  to  discuss  technically  the 
maneuvers  of  the  two  armies  leading  up  to  Gettysburg,  or  to 
describe  specifically  the  battles  that  followed,  but  rather  to 
recount  the  deeds  of  Mississippians  who  shared  the  glory  of 
victory  and  bitterness  of  defeat  in  those  sanguinary  struggles. 

It  is  appropriate,  therefore,  in  the  outset  to  refer  to  the  diffi- 
culties encountered  in  securing  first-hand  information  from  actual 
participants.  Forty  years  and  more  have  come  and  gone ;  the 
commercial  and  industrial  strides  following  a  rehabilitated 
country  have  separated  far  and  wide  the  survivors,  and  the  great 
conquerer  death  has  been  ever  on  the  march.2 

Gettysburg  was  the  only  battle  of  the  War  between  the  States 
fought  north  of  Mason  and  Dixon's  line.  Although  its  fields  of 
operations  have  been  visited  by  tourists  from  all  quarters  and 
studied  in  its  tactical  and  strategetical  maneuvers  by  military 
men  of  the  world,  it  is  less  understood,  or  more  misunderstood, 
in  the  South  than  is  any  other  battle  of  this  great  conflict. 

This  is  probably  due  to  the  fact  that  the  Pennsylvania  cam- 
paign consumed  but  eighteen  days,  consisting  of  a  rapid  march 
into  the  enemy's  country,  a  three  days'  battle  and  a  retrograde 
movement,  followed  by  defensive  operations  to  the  close  of  hos- 
tilities. The  disastrous  results  to  the  South  immediately  fol- 
lowing the  war  precipitated  such  a  struggle  for  civil  and  political 
existence  as  to  overshadow  for  a  time  everything  else.  So  the 
history  of  Gettysburg  is  mainly  the  work  of  Northern  writers. 
True,  the  part  performed  on  the  afternoon  of  the  third  day  by 
one  division  of  General  Longstreet's  corps  has  received  the  atten- 
tion of  many  Virginia  contributors  to  military  literature,  but  as 
that  division  did  not  reach  the  firing  line  until  after  15,000  Con- 
federate soldiers  had  been  killed,  wounded,  and  captured,  and 

'A  biographical  sketch  of  the  author  of  this  contribution  will  be  found 
in  the  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  Vol.  VII,  p.  351. 
— EDITOR. 

2Grateful  acknowledgment  is  made  to  various  survivors  of  the  Penn- 
sylvania campaign  for  material  upon  which  this  sketch  is  based.  Their 
contributions  will  be  carefully  preserved. 

(25) 


26  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

as  its  companion  division  of  General  Hill's  corps  suffered  in  that 
action  equally,  if  not  worse,  in  casualties,  it  is  evidently  unfair 
to  accept  its  exploits,  however  grand  and  glorious,  as  a  complete 
history  of  even  one  of  the  half  dozen  separate  and  distinct  battles 
fought  around  Gettysburg.  Nor  is  it  fair  for  North  Carolina 
historians  to  claim  superiority  for  their  troops  in  the  third  day's 
battle  on  the  basis  of  losses  which  it  is  evident  were  sustained 
for  the  most  part  in  the  battle  of  the  first  day. 

Soldiers  of  twelve  Southern  States  share  the  honors  of  victory 
and  the  grandeur  of  defeat  in  that  defensive-aggressive  campaign, 
and  it  is  only  a  question  of  time  when  they  will  assume  their 
proper  place  in  history. 

Mississippi  was  represented  on  the  fields  of  Gettysburg  by  the 
infantry  brigades  of  Davis  of  Heth's  division,  Hill's  corps,  con- 
sisting of  the  Second,  Eleventh,  and  Forty-second  Mississippi 
regiments  and  the  Fifty-fifth  North  Carolina  regiment,  which 
was  temporarily  assigned  to  it;  Barksdale's  brigade  of  McLaw's 
division,  Longstreet's  corps,  consisting  of  the  Thirteenth,  Seven- 
teenth, Eighteenth,  and  Twenty-first  regiments;  Posey's  brigade 
of  Anderson's  division,  Hill's  corps,  consisting  of  the  Twelfth, 
Sixteenth,  Nineteenth,  and  Twenty -first  regiments;  Ward's  Mis- 
sissippi battery  (the  Madison  Light  Artillery)  of  Poague's  bat- 
talion, which  was  attached  to  Fender's  division.  In  addition  to 
these  infantry-artillery  forces  from  Mississippi,  the  Adams  County 
troop  of  cavalry,  the  Chickasaw  Rangers,  and  the  Kemper 
County  cavalry  of  Hampton's  brigade,  Stuart's  division,  also 
took  part  in  the  battle  of  Gettysburg. 

These  troops  were,  in  the  main,  veterans,  having  volunteered 
before  hostilities  began  and  having  participated  in  most  of  the 
great  battles  in  Virginia,  from  first  Manassas  to  Chancellorsville. 
They  had  met  the  Army  of  the  Potomac  under  every  condition 
of  warfare  and  had  experienced  every  phase  of  fighting,  both 
offensive  and  defensive,  not  infrequently  meeting  the  enemy  in 
the  open,  where  they  disproved  more  than  once  the  Napoleonic 
axiom  that  "success  is  always  on  the  side  of  the  strongest  bat- 
talions." Time  and  again  had  they  assisted  in  driving  back  "on 
to  Richmond"  demonstrations,  and  now  "the  finest  army  on  the 
planet"  was  outgeneraled  and  beaten  at  Chancellorsville  and 
compelled  to  seek  cover  behind  the  Rappahannock.  The  time 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  37 

seemed  auspicious  for  another  aggressive  movement,  forcing 
further  retirement,  but  after  a  long  delay  invasion  instead  was 
determined  upon  and  the  necessary  strategic  maneuvers  were 
executed  and  the  initial  move  of  the  campaign  made. 

On  crossing  the  Potomac  into  the  enemy's  country  there  was 
in  the  rank  and  file  that  bouyancy  of  spirit,  firmness  of  purpose, 
and  self-confidence  characteristic  of  an  invading  and  hitherto 
invincible  army.  In  morale  it  was  unsurpassed,  and,  except  in 
point  of  equipment,  a  stronger  and  more  reliable  force,  numer- 
ically considered,  never  existed. 

Since  the  Mississippi  commands  were  in  different  divisions, 
and  fought  separately  and  on  different  ground  in  the  several 
battles,  they  are  treated  of  consecutively  and  in  the  order  of 
their  engagements. 

From  a  diary  kept  by  G.  W.  Bynum3  of  Company  A,  Second 
Mississippi,  penciled  on  the  line,  on  the  march,  and  in  the  camp, 
the  following  extracts  are  made : 

"June  10,  1863. — We  have  been  lying  in  the  entrenchments  (at  Freder- 
icksburg)  for  three  or  four  days.  All  quiet  except  an  occasional  shot 
from  the  artillery.  General  Lee  has  gone  up  towards  Culpeper  Court- 
house with  Longstreet's  corps. 

"June  14. — The  Yankees  this  side  of  the  river  fell  back  last  night,  and 
we  moved  up  near  Falmouth,  which  is  situated  on  the  opposite  side  of 
the  Rappahannock,  two  miles  above  Fredericksburg. 

"June  15. — The  enemy's  pickets  retired  last  night,  except  their  videttes. 
Tom  Arnold,  Corporal  Patrick  and  myself  went  across  the  river  to  recon- 
noiter.  The  few  videttes  fell  back  when  they  saw  us  wading  the  rivet. 
When  we  appeared  in  the  streets  of  Falmouth  I  never  saw  a  happier 
people.  The  old  men  and  ladies  happily  met  us  with  a  cordial  hand- 
shake, their  eyes  brimming  with  tears  of  joy.  We  went  through  the  vil- 
lage to  the  enemy's  camp  on  Stafford  Heights,  and  then  returning  found 
the  brigade  (Davis's)  on  the  march.  To-night  we  are  camped  near  the 
Wilderness  battle-field. 

"June  17. — Arrived  at  Culpeper  about  10  o'clock  and  camped. 

"June  1 8. — March  continued  to-day.  Very  warm  and  disagreeable. 
Several  of  the  boys  were  overheated  and  fell  out  of  ranks,  Brother  Turner* 
among  them.  We  are  now  camped  on  a  high  hill  on  the  north  side  of 
the  Rappahannock. 

''June  19. — Still  on  the  march.  Camped  to-night  within  seven  miles 
of  Front  Royal. 

"June  20. — Crossed  the  Blue  Ridge  and  waded  the  Shenandoah  river. 
Camped  in  three  miles  of  Front  Royal. 

2There  were  six  Bynum  brothers  in  this  company,  and  although  often 
wounded  they  all  survived  the  war. 

8  He  was  a  member  of  the  Second  Mississippi  and  fought  the  first  day 
at  Gettysburg.  He  was  so  close  on  the  enemy  when  wounded  that  the 
paper  attached  to  the  old-fashioned  cartridge  was  forced  into  his  leg. 
However,  he  had  his  wound  dressed,  rested  on  the  second,  and  went  into 
the  assault  on  the  third,  and  came  out  with  three  others  of  his  company. 


28  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

"June  21. — Left  the  Winchester  pike  and  passed  through  White  Post, 
and  are  now  camped  near  Berryville.  General  Longstreet's  corps  is  here 
also. 

"June  22. — Rested  to-day. 

"June  23. — Left  camp  this  morning  about  noon;  passed  through  Berry- 
ville and  Reppan,  and  now  we  are  camped  near  Charlestown,  a  place  made 
famous  by  the  hanging  of  John  Brown. 

"June  24. — Passed  through  Charlestown  and  are  now  in  two  miles  of 
Shepherdstown  on  the  Potomac. 

"June  25. — Crossed  the  Potomac  by  wading  and  passed  through  the 
battle-field  of  Sharpsburg,  which  was  fought  September  17,  1862.  Much 
sign  of  the  conflict  is  visible.  The  low  mounds  which  cover  the  bones  of 
those  who  fell,  the  furrowed  ground  and  scarred  trees,  all  speak  more 
plainly  than  words  of  that  terrible  conflict.  I  saw  the  ground  over  which 
we  charged  on  that  memorable  occasion  and  the  very  spot  where  I  was 
wounded.  Sad,  sad  thoughts  are  recalled  by  again  reviewing  the  old 
battle-ground.  To-night  we  are  camped  near  Hagerstown,  Md. 

"June  26. — To-day  we  crossed  over  into  Pennsylvania.  The  people 
appear  to  be  badly  frightened  on  account  of  our  presence. 

"June  27 — To-day  one  year  ago  we  were  fighting  around  Richmond. 
To-night  a  large  portion  of  Lee's  army  is  across  the  mountain.  We  are 
now  camped  at  the  base  of  Cumberland  Mountain,  near  Greenwood,  Pa. 

"June  28. — Remained  in  camp  cooking  rations.  Our  army  is  pressing 
a  number  of  horses  into  the  Confederate  service. 

"June  29. — Marched  across  the  mountain  and  camped  near  Cashtown. 
Saw  where  Longstreet's  corps  destroyed  Thad.  Stevens's  iron  works. 

"June  30. — Remained  in  camp  to-day.     Raining."4 

4The  following  brief  extracts  from  the  diary  of  F.  L.  Riley,  a  private  in 
Company  B,  Sixteenth  Mississippi,  will  be  of  interest  to  many  Mississip- 
pians : 

"June  5,  1863. — We  march  to  the  front  and  occupy  the  works  about 
Fredericksburg,  the  Yanks  having  crossed  the  river.  Skirmishing  inces- 
santly. We  remain  in  the  ditches  to  the  i/jth  inst. 

"  une  14. — To  Chancellorsville. 

"_  une  15. — Cross  Rapidan  River  at  Germana. 

"  une  16. — To  Culpeper, 

"  une  17. — Waded  Hazel  River. 

"  une  18.— To  Flint  Hill. 

"  une  19. — Crossed  Blue  Ridge  Mountains  to  Front  Royal;  waded 
South  and  North  Shenandoah  Rivers. 

"June  20. — To  Whiteppst. 

"June  21. — To  Berryville. 

"June  23. — To  Charlestown. 

"June  24. — Waded  Potomac  River  at  Shepherdstown.  To  Sharpsburg 
and  Petersburg,  Md. 

"June  25. — To  Boonsboro  and  Funktown,  Md. 

"June  26. — To  Hagerstown,  Md.  To  Middleburg  (which  is  on  the  line 
of  Md.  &  Pa.).  To  Greencastle,  Pa. 

"June  27. — To  Marion  and  Chambersburg,  Pa.  We  rested  here  three 
days. 

"July  i,  1863. — To  Fayetteville,  New  Salem  and  Gettysburg.  Fight — 
Yanks  driven. 

"July  2  and  3. — Fight  continues.  Tom"!  Shorter  wounded  rand  after- 
wards captured. 

"July  4.— To  Fail-field,  Pa. 

"July  5. — To  Wainsburg,  Pa. 

"July  6. — To  Lightwoodburg,  Md. 

"July  7. — To  near  Hagerstown,  Md.,  where  we  rested  two  or  three  days." 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  29 

This  concise  diary  might  be  continued  with  interest  to  sur- 
vivors of  the  Second  regiment,  and  indeed  of  the  rest  of  Davis's 
brigade,  for  they  marched  together  and  fought  together;  and  it 
might  also  furnish  valuable  data  for  the  use  of  future  historians, 
but  as  the  writer  confines  himself  to  the  personal  experiences 
and  observations  of  participants  in  the  battle  of  Gettysburg,  the 
extract  serves  his  present  purpose.  A  diary  is  far  more  reliable 
than  recollections  and  in  many  instances  preferable  to  official 
reports. 

THE  FIRST  DAY'S  BATTLE. 

On  June  3oth,  General  Heth,  in  camp  at  Cashtown,  secured 
permission  to  send  to  Gettysburg  for  supplies,  principally  shoes, 
of  which  his  troops  were  in  great  need.  General  Pettigrew's 
North  Carolina  brigade  was  selected  for  the  duty.  Advancing 
in  that  direction,  he  soon  discovered  the  enemy  and  withdrew, 
as  his  force  was  too  small  to  bring  on  an  engagement.  The  next 
day,  July  ist,  the  brigades  of  Archer  (Tennessee)  and  Davis 
(Mississippi)  were  ordered  forward.  On  passing  Pettigrew's 
men  the  Mississippians  were  told  that  they  would  have  only 
Pennsylvania  militia  to  fight.  But  at  the  point  where  the  Cham- 
bersburg  pike  crosses  Marsh  creek,  three  miles  west  of  Gettys- 
burg, they  encountered  two  brigades  of  Buford's  cavalry.  Skir- 
mishers were  thrown  forward,  and  the  great  battle  of  Gettysburg 
was  on. 

Archer  advanced  on  the  south  and  Davis  on  the  north  of  the 
pike,  supported  by  artillery.  Additional  cavalry  was  hurried  to 
the  front,  and,  joining  Buford's  dismounted  force,  endeavored 
with  carbines  to  check  the  advance.  The  advantage  of  rapid- 
fire  guns  and  the  protection  afforded  by  fences,  trees,  etc.,  made 
the  resistance  more  formidable  than  would  be  expected  from 
militia;  but  the  impetuous  Southerners  pressed  onward  and 
drove  the  enemy  back  to  Willoughby  Run.  Here  they  encoun- 
tered Gamble's  cavalry  brigade,  also  dismounted  and  supported 
by  artillery,  and  the  fight  became  stubborn  and  long  drawn  out. 

General  Reynolds,  commanding  the  First  Union  corps,  with 
Wadsworth's  division,  now  arrived  and  took  position  in  the  rear 
of  the  cavalry.  The  leading  regiments  of  Cutler's  brigade,  in 
relieving  the  cavalry,  came  into  action  confronting  the  Second 


3o  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

and  the  Forty-second  Mississippi  and  the  Fifty-fifth  North  Car- 
olina, commanded  respectively  by  Colonels  Stone,  Miller,  and 
Conally. 

The  Eleventh  Mississippi  was  left  at  Cashtown  guarding  the 
trains  and  did  not  participate  in  this  battle. 

Realizing  the  magnitude  of  resistance,  but  remembering  the 
achievements  of  the  past,  the  Mississippians  nerved  themselves 
for  the  arduous  task,  and  with  that  inimitable  "rebel  yell" 
rushed  forward  to  within  almost  bayonet  reach  before  the  steady 
lines  of  Cutler  gave  way.  The  advance  was  continued  over  a 
well  defined  line  of  dead  and  wounded  Federals.  Many  prison- 
ers were  captured,  together  with  two  beautiful  silk  flags. 

After  the  repulse  and  while  crossing  an  old  abandoned  railroad 
cut,  orders  were  given  for  a  new  alignment,  and  during  the  par- 
tial confusion  incident  thereto  a  Wisconsin  regiment,  marching 
on  the  left  flank  of  Archer,  changed  front,  and,  charging  up  the 
cut,  captured  Major  Blair  and  a  number  of  men  belonging  to  the 
Second  Mississippi.  Archer  being  in  the  woods,  his  right  was 
overlapped  by  Meredeth's  Union  Brigade,  which,  taking  him  in 
the  flank  and  the  rear,  captured  him  and  a  large  portion  of  his 
brigade. 

General  Reynolds,  while  personally  directing  the  extension  of 
his  line,  was  killed  in  front  of  the  woods.  Why  these  two  Con- 
federate brigades  were  ordered  or  allowed  to  fight  their  way  into 
the  midst  of  the  First  Union  corps  without  proper  or  timely  flank 
support,  has  not  been  explained  by  historians. 

Reinforcements,  however,  afterwards  arrived,  and  the  Confed- 
erate battle  lines  were  extended  and  the  enemy  driven  through 
Gettysburg  in  great  confusion,  losing  over  five  thousand  pris- 
oners. 

Early  in  the  action,  when  the  boys  were  "drivin"  "em,"  as  in 
the  early  days  of  the  war,  the  gallant  Colonel  Conally  of  the 
Fifty-fifth  North  Carolina  was  wounded,  and  when  asked  by 
Major  Belo  of  the  same  regiment  if  seriously  hurt,  replied:  "Yes, 
but  the  litter-bearers  are  here ;  go  on  and  don't  let  the  Mississip- 
pians get  ahead  of  you." 

Colonel  Stone  of  the  Second  was  wounded,  and  the  command 
devolved  upon  Lieutenant-Colonel  Humphreys.  The  Forty- 
second  Mississippi  was  comparatively  a  new  regiment,  having 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  31 

been  organized  in  May,  1862,  and  Gettysburg  was  its  first  "bap- 
tism of  blood."  If  any  doubt  existed  as  to  its  fighting  qualities, 
they  were  dispelled  that  day.  Colonel  Miller  was  an  early  vol- 
unteer, and  commanded  Company  G  "Pontotoc  Minute  Men,"  in 
the  Second,  until  the  formation  of  the  Forty-second,  and  on  this 
occasion  fought  his  regiment  fully  up  to  the  high  standard  set 
by  the  Second  and  Eleventh. 

The  loss  of  Davis 's  brigade  in  this  day's  action  was  not  sepa- 
rately reported,  but  included  in  the  general  returns  for  the  cam- 
paign. It  is  generally  estimated,  however,  that  two-thirds  of 
the  loss  of  the  regiments  engaged  was  sustained  on  that  day. 

For  nearly  six  hours  had  these  two  brigades  marched  and 
fought,  and  it  was  doubtless  the  sight  of  their  worn  and  depleted 
condition,  as  well  as  that  of  Heth's  other  brigades,  that  deterred 
General  Lee,  who  arrived  on  the  field  in  the  afternoon,  from 
forcing  the  fight  beyond  Gettysburg  and  thus  reaping  the  reward 
their  gallantry  had  so  dearly  won. 

Near  the  scene  of  its  last  action  the  brigade  made  camp  for  the 
night,  and  anxiously  awaited  orders  for  the  morrow. 

SECOND  DAY'S  BATTLE. 

Barksdale's  brigade  was  camped  at  Greenwood,  sixteen  miles 
from  Gettysburg,  and  at  9  o'clock  A.  M.,  July  ist,  under  hurry 
orders,  marched  in  that  direction.  Owing  to  the  congested 
condition  of  the  Chambersburg  pike,  over  which  Ewell's  corps 
and  supply  trains  were  moving,  the  brigade  marched  by  the  most 
direct  route,  regardless  of  roads,  on  by-paths,  through  fields, 
over  rocks  and  hills,  and  finally  reaching,  after  midnight,  a  point 
on  Plum  Run,  north  of  the  town,  there  halted  for  rest  and  sleep. 
At  sunrise  on  the  26.,  it  formed  a  line  of  battle  in  the  suburbs  of 
the  town,  where  it  lay  inactive  for  two  or  three  hours.  It  then 
formed  column  and  marched  by  the  right  front,  then  counter- 
marched and  took  position  between  Wofford,  who  was  on  his 
right,  and  Wilcox,  who  was  on  his  left,  and  behind  a  small  eleva- 
tion in  a  skirt  of  timber  fronting  the  "Peach  Orchard,"  then 
occupied  by  Graham's  brigade  of  Sickle's  Union  corps.  In  front, 
600  yards  away,  was  a  battery,  which  the  impetuous  Barksdale 
asked  permission  to  charge  immediately,  but  his  request  was 


32  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

denied.  The  brigade  was  formed  in  the  following  order  from 
right  to  left:  The  Twenty-first  regiment,  under  Colonel  Hum- 
phreys; the  Eighteenth,  under  Colonel  Griffin;  the  Seventeenth, 
under  Colonel  Holder,  and  the  Thirteenth,  under  Colonel  Carter. 

Artillery  was  posted  on  the  right,  fifty  yards  in  front.  Men 
were  ordered  to  tear  away  a  plank  fence  within  200  yards  of  the 
enemy,  which  was  done  without  molestation.  Caps  were  taken 
from  the  guns  and  orders  given  for  movement  in  closed  ranks. 
At  a  signal  the  artillery  opened  fire,  and  for  half  an  hour  the  fight 
was  fast  and  furious. 

General  Longstreet  makes  the  following  statement  about  this 
interesting  period  in  the  struggle:  "I  rode  to  McLaw's;  found 
him  ready  for  his  opportunity,  and  Barksdale  chafing  in  his  wait 
for  orders  to  seize  the  battery  in  his  front.  After  additional 
caution  to  hold  his  ranks  closed,  McLaw  ordered  Barksdale  in. 
With  glorious  bearing  he  sprang  to  his  work,  overriding  obstacles 
and  dangers.  Without  a  pause  to  deliver  a  shot,  he  had  the 
battery."5 

A  further  advance  was  ordered  and  continued.  The  regiments 
on  the  left,  the  Thirteenth  and  the  Eighteenth,  encountered 
Seely's  U.  S.  battery,  strongly  supported  by  infantry,  while  the 
regiments  on  the  right,  the  Twenty-first  and  the  Seventeenth, 
met  the  New  York  Excelsior  brigade.  Another  charge,  and 
victory  again  perched  upon  the  banners  of  the  gallant  Mississip- 
pians.  Although  the  enemy  was  being  steadily  driven  back, 
reinforcements  moved  promptly  out  to  cover  their  retreat. 

Next  to  be  encountered  was  Willard's  splendid  New  York  bri- 
gade, as  it  advanced  to  cover  the  left  of  Humphreys 's  retiring 
line.  Having  recently  entered  the  field  with  the  step  and  pre- 
cision of  a  dress  parade,  though  in  "rough  uniform  and  with 
bright  bayonets,"  these  veterans,  now  covered  with  dust  and 
blackened  with  the  smoke  of  battle,  with  ranks  depleted  by  shot 
and  shell,  and  faint  from  exhaustion,  responded  with  cheers  to 
the  clarion  call  of  the  intrepid  Barksdale  as  he  "moved  bravely 
on,  the  guiding  spirit  of  the  battle."  Mounted  and  with  sword 
held  aloft  "at  an  angle  of  forty-five  degrees,"  he  exclaimed: 
"Brave  Mississippians,  one  more  charge  and  the  day  is  ours!" 
But  the  resistance  was  too  great,  and,  besides  this,  he  was  being 

5See  From  Manassas  to  Appomattox,  p.  370. 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  33 

outflanked  by  Willard.  Orders  were  given  for  a  recall,  but 
Barksdale  either  did  not  receive  it  or  failed  to  obey  before  he  fell 
mortally  wounded.  He  died  defiant  and  unyielding,  a  costly 
though  willing  sacrifice  upon  the  altar  of  patriotism.8 

All  the  field  officers  of  the  brigade  were  either  killed  or  wounded 
except  Colonel  Humphreys  of  the  Twenty-first,  who  assumed 
command. 

General  Longstreet  makes  the  following  statement: 

"When  General  Humphreys,  who  succeeded  to  the  Barksdale  brigade, 
was  called  back  to  the  new  line  he  thought  there  was  some  mistake  in 
the  orders,  and  only  withdrew  as  far  as  a  captured  battery,  and  when  the 
order  was  repeated  retired  under  protest."7 

Neither  Barksdale  nor  Humphreys  had  had  the  advantage  of 
military  training,  except  in  the  actual  theater  of  war;  but  no 
troops  were  ever  led  by  truer  or  braver  officers,  and  no  leaders 
ever  had  more  loyal  or  determined  followers.  Whatever  history 
may  say  of  the  gallantry  and  prowess  displayed  on  the  rocky 
slopes  and  green  fields  of  Gettysburg,  whether  at  the  so-called 
"high-water  mark  of  the  Confederacy"  or  elsewhere,  no  incident 
can  surpass  in  grandeur  the  glorious  achievement  of  the  Griffith- 
Barksdale-Humphreys  brigade,  and  no  spot  on  that  blood- 
stained field  is  a  more  hallowed  spot  than  that  "where  Barks- 
dale  fell."  The  loss  of  the  brigade  during  this  brief  afternoon 
fight,  which  closed  with  the  setting  sun,  was  750  killed,  wounded, 
and  missing.  This  fact  indicates  not  only  the  character  of  the 
opposition,  but  the  fighting  qualities  of  this  brigade,  which  we 
are  told  put  almost  one  thousand  of  the  enemy  out  of  action  in 
its  victorious  march. 

Mississippians  justly  prided  themselves  on  marksmanship. 
The  bear  hunters  of  the  Mississippi- Yazoo  Delta,  the  deer 
hunters  of  the  pine  woods,  and  the  small  game  hunters  of  the 

'General  Barksdale  was  mortally  wounded  by  a  grape  shot  in  the  edge 
of  the  wheat  field,  near  the  branch,  and  started  to  the  rear.  Private  J. 
C.  Lloyd,  of  Company  C,  Thirteenth  Mississippi,  was  within  twenty  feet 
of  him  at  the  time.  Almost  immediately  thereafter  Lloyd  himself  was 
shot  in  the  arm  and  fell  in  the  bushes  lining  the  branch.  Here  he  re- 
mained until  the  enemy  advanced  over  him  and  then  retreated,  when  he 
started  to  the  rear,  and  soon  found  General  Barksdale  lying  upon  the 
ground  alone,  weak  and  helpless,  but  uncomplaining  and  resigned  to  his 
fate.  Lloyd,  who  is  now  a  prominent  citizen  of  Meridian,  Miss.,  lost  an 
arm. 

7 See  From  Manassas  to  Appomattox,  p.  371. 
2 


34  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

East  Mississippi  prairies  were  ready  marksmen  and  invincible 
except  against  great  odds. 

When  brigaded  with  the  Fourth  Alabama,  Sixth  North  Caro- 
lina and  Second  Mississippi,  under  General  Whiting,  Colonel 
Fender,  of  the  Sixth  North  Carolina,  reported  to  headquarters 
that  a  hog  had  been  killed  within  the  lines  of  the  Eleventh 
Mississippi.  General  Whiting  inquired  what  evidence  he  had 
of  thjs.  Colonel  Fender  stated  that  he  heard  the  report  of  the 
gun  inside  their  lines  and  heard  the  hog  squeal.  "I  am  sat- 
isfied that  you  are  mistaken,  Colonel,"  replied  General 
Whiting,  "when  a  Eleventh  Mississippian  shoots  a  hog  it 
don't  squeal." 

Posey's  Mississippi  brigade,  composed  of  the  Twelfth  regiment, 
under  Colonel  Thomas;  the  Sixteenth,  under  Colonel  Baker;  the 
Nineteenth,  under  Colonel  Harris,  and  the  Forty-eighth,  under 
Colonel  Jayne,  was  at  Chambersburg  and  marched  to  Cashtown, 
where  its  division,  Anderson's  and  Hill's  reserved  artillery,  were 
halted.  At  the  opening  of  battle  it  marched  to  the  scene  of 
action,  taking  position  in  the  rear  of  Seminary  Ridge.  Late  in 
the  afternoon  of  the  second  day  it  advanced  against  the  right  of 
Humphreys's  Federal  division  and  drove  in  its  skirmishers  under 
a  strong  musketry  resistance  in  front  of  an  enfilading  artillery 
fire.  Here  it  established  a  picket  line,  which  was  maintained 
until  late  into  the  night,  when  it  retired  to  the  line  behind 
Pegram's  artillery,  where  it  remained  in  support  throughout  the 
eventful  hours  of  the  third  day.  This  brigade  remained  on  the 
ground  until  the  night  of  the  fourth  day,  when  it  was  withdrawn 
and  formed  the  rear  guard  of  the  army  until  Lee's  formation  in 
front  of  Meade  at  Hagerstown,  Md. 

This  splendid  veteran  brigade  had  already  won  high  honors 
on  hotly  contested  fields  and  only  needed  an  opportunity  to  add 
fresh  laurels  to  its  well  earned  reputation.  The  gallant  Colonel 
Nat  H.  Harris  later  became  its  commander,  and  its  history  closed 
with  Appomattox. 8 

8  In  the  winter  of  1863-64  the  Young  Men's  Christian  Association  of 
Posey's  (afterwards  Harris's)  Mississippi  brigade  led  off  in  a  movement 
which  was  followed  by  a  number  of  other  brigades  and  deserves  to  be 
written  in  letters  of  gold  on  one  of  the  brightest  pages  of  our  country's 
history.  They  solemnly  resolved  to  fast  one  day  in  every  week  in  order 
that  they  might  send  that  day's  rations  to  the  suffering  poor  of  the  city  of 
Richmond.  Although  they  received  only  $11  a  month  in  Confederate  c.ur- 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  35 

CAVALRY  ACTION  ON  THE  THIRD  DAY. 

The  Pennsylvania  campaign  may  be  properly  said  to  have 
commenced  on  June  gth,  on  which  date  was  fought  the  great 
cavalry  battles  on  and  around  the  plains  of  Brandy  Station, 
south  of  the  Rappahannock  River,  between  the  forces  of  Stuart 
and  Pleasanton.  Little  has  been  said  concerning  the  conspic- 
uous part  played  by  the  small  force  of  Mississippi  cavalry  belong- 
ing to  the  Army  of  Northern  Virginia,  their  division  chief  having 
been  censured  by  early  historians  of  the  war  for  the  failure  of 
Lee  at  Gettysburg.  This  opportunity  cannot,  therefore,  be  lost 
to  attempt  tardy  justice  to  this  able  commander  and  his  gallant 
body  of  troopers,  as  brave  as  ever  strided  horse  or  drew  blade 
in  the  defense  of  any  cause. 

That  the  Confederate  Government  did  not  appreciate  the 
importance  of  cavalry  at  the  commencement  of  the  war,  and 
afterwards  did  not  make  adequate  provision  for  its  maintenance, 
is  clearly  set  forth  by  the  condition  of  acceptance  of  the  first  vol- 
unteer company  from  Mississippi  to  go  to  Virginia.  General 

rency  and  never  got  more  than  half  rations,  and  very  frequently  not  that, 
they  voluntarily  fasted  one  day  in  the  week  in  order  to  send  that  day's 
rations  to  God's  poor  in  the  city,  for  whose  defense  they  were  so  freely 
and  heroically  offering  and  sacrificing  their  lives.  (J-  Wm.  Jones's 
Religion  in  Lee's  Army,  pp.  398-399.) 

When  the  orders  for  moving  came  to  A.  P.  Hill's  corps,  near  Freder- 
icksburg,  in  June,  1863,  and  put  the  column  in  motion  for  Gettysburg, 
they  found  Chaplains  J.  J.  Hyman  and  E.  B.  Barrett,  of  Georgia,  engaged 
in  baptizing  in  Massapomax  creek  some  of  the  converts  in  the  revival 
which  had  begun  in  their  regiments  and  which  did  not  cease  during  the 
bloody  campaign  which  followed,  and  as  a  result  of  which  a  remarkable 
scene  was  enacted  near  Hagerstown,  Md.,  on  Sunday,  June  29,  1863. 

The  banks  of  the  historic  Antietam  were  lined  with  an  immense  crowd 
of  Confederate  soldiers.  But  they  came  not  in  "battle  array" — no  oppos- 
ing force  confronted  them;  no  cannon  belched  its  hoarse  thunder,  and 
the  shriek  of  shell  and  whistle  of  the  minnie  were  unheard.  Instead  of 
these,  sweet  strains  of  the  songs  of  Zion  were  wafted  on  the  breeze  and 
the  deepest  solemnity  pervaded  the  gathered  hosts  as  one  of  the  chap- 
lains led  down  into  the  historic  stream  fourteen  veterans  who  a  few  months 
before  had  fought  at  Sharpsburg  and  were  now  enlisting  under  the  ban- 
ner of  the  Cross.  (Ibid.,  p.  254^) 

These  army  chaplains  almost  without  exception  accompanied  their 
commands  to  Gettysburg,  and  after  the  great  battles  were  over  volun- 
tarily remained  to  render  the  comforts  and  consolation  the  Gospel  affords 
to  the  wounded  and  dying  soldiers ;  but  contrary  to  the  rules  governing 
civilized  warfare  they  were  arrested  and  imprisoned,  as  were  also  the 
Confederate  surgeons  detailed  to  care  for  the  badly  wounded  left  behind. 

This  arbitrary  action  of  the  Federal  authorities  will  ever  form  a  dark 
blot  on  the  page  of  American  history. 


36  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Will  T.  Martin,  then  as  now  a  prominent  citizen  of  Natchez,  Miss., 
not  unlike  a  large  and  substantial  class  in  Mississippi,  favored  the 
Union,  or  rather  union  under  the  constitution  and  laws  of  the 
United  States,  but  opposed  fanaticism,  visionary  theories  of  a 
"higher  law,"  and  insurrectionary  measures.  Visiting  Washing- 
ton in  the  winter  of  1860,  he  heard  the  debates  in  Congress,  read 
the  newspapers,  and  caught  the  trend  of  divided  public  senti- 
ment. Realizing  that  the  "irrepressible  conflict"  was  fast 
approaching,  and  acting  upon  the  principle  that  "forewarned  is 
forearmed,"  he  went  directly  to  New  York  and  to  New  England 
and  purchased  full  and  complete  equipments  for  a  cavalry  com- 
pany. On  reaching  home  he  immediately  set  about  the  work  of 
organization.  Men  and  horses  were  voted  upon  and  all  of  either 
that  were  in  any  way  undesirable  were  "black-balled."  Shortly 
after  the  inauguration  of  President  Davis  at  Montgomery,  Gen- 
eral Martin  tendered  the  services  of  his  company,  the  Adams 
County  troop  of  cavalry.  He  received  the  following  reply  from 
Adjutant-General  Cooper  at  Richmond: 

"Have  all  the  cavalry  wanted  in  Virginia.  No  money  for  cavalry  trans- 
portation." 

Companies  of  infantry  and  artillery  were  leaving  for  the  front. 
The  cavalrymen  were  called  "aristocrats"  and  "too  fine  to  fight." 
Besides  their  showy  equipments,  they  had  tents,  cooking  uten- 
sils, a  big  lot  of  servants,  and  were  fully  supplied  with  Saratoga 
trunks.  But  in  addition  to  these  things  they  had  the  real  "sin- 
ews of  war,"  or  the  wherewith  to  go  to  war,  in  the  form  of  a  large 
"company  fund."  The  taunts  of  the  populace  were  provoking. 
Despairing  of  Government  aid  for  transportation,  the  fine  steamer 
"Mary  Keene"  was  chartered  for  Memphis,  Tenn.,  and  the  troop- 
ers, bidding  adieu  to  families  and  friends,  left  for  the  scene  of 
conflict.  Among  the  many  to  inspect  and  admire  the  company 
en  route  was  N.  B.  Forrest,  a  man  destined  to  reach  great  prom- 
inence in  the  profession  of  arms  by  rising  rapidly  from  private 
to  lieutenant-general  by  meritorious  service  alone.  Before  com- 
mencing an  inspection  of  this  company  he  courteously  explained 
that  he  wanted  to  raise  a  "hoss  company." 

Chartering  a  train  of  cars  at  Memphis,  the  command  in  due 
time  lined  up  in  front  of  General  Cooper's  office.  The  com- 
mander then  entered  and  engaged  in  the  following  conversation : 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  37 

"I  presume  this  is  General  Cooper.  I  am  Captain  Martin  of  the  Adams 
County  troop  of  cavalry,  from  Natchez,  Miss.  I  did  not  think  you  had 
cavalry  enough  in  Virginia.  You  could  not  pay  transportation,  we 
could,  and  are  here." 

"Where  is  your  company?"  asked  General  Cooper.  "In  the  street  in 
front  of  your  office,"  said  Captain  Martin.  "What?"  exclaimed  General 
Cooper,  in  astonishment.  "Yes;  come  and  see  it,"  suggested  Captain 
Martin. 

General  Cooper  and  President  Davis  inspected  the  company, 
and  in  accepting  it  declared  it  the  best  equipped  command  then 
to  enter  the  service.  In  this  way  the  Adams  County  Troop 
became  Company  A  and  formed  the  neucleus  of  the  "Jeff  Davis 
Legion."  The  following  companies  coming  in  later  completed 
the  organization:  Company  B,  "Chickasaw  Rangers,"  Chickasaw 
County,  Miss. ;  Company  C,  "Kemper  Cavalry,"  Kemper  County, 
Miss.;  Company  D,  Alabama;  Company  E,  Alabama,  and  Com- 
pany F,  Georgia. 

Captain  Martin  was  made  major,  then  lieutenant-colonel  of 
the  Legion,  and  commanded  it  until  after  the  Maryland  cam- 
paign, when  he  was  promoted  to  the  rank  of  brigadier-general 
and  sent  to  Bragg's  army.  In  1863  he  became  major-general 
and  served  in  that  position  to  the  end  of  the  war.  At  the  open- 
ing of  the  Pennsylvania  campaign  the  "Jeff  Davis  Legion"  was 
officered  as  follows:  J.  F.  Waring,  of  Savannah,  Ga.,  lieutenant- 
colonel;  Wm.  G.  Conner,  of  Natchez,  Miss.,  major;  Richard  E. 
Conner,  of  Natchez,  Miss.,  captain  and  adjutant;  T.  Jeff  Adams, 
of  Adams  County,  Miss.,  captain  of  Troop  A;  Wm.  G.  Hender- 
son, of  Chickasaw  County,  Miss.,  captain  of  Troop  B ;  and  R.  M. 
Avery,  of  Kemper  County,  Miss.,  captain  of  Troop  C. 

On  the  morning  of  June  9,  1863,  General  Pleasonton's  cavalry 
crossed  the  Rappahannock  River  at  Beverly  and  at  Kelly's  fords 
in  strong  force,  and  a  general  engagement  ensued,  Stuart  being 
compelled  to  bring  into  action  his  entire  strength  of  8,000  men 
to  contest  the  field  with  Pleasonton's  force  of  12,000.  The  battle 
lasted  all  day,  with  varying  fortune.  During  the  night  the 
enemy  recrossed  the  river.  When  the  army  of  General  Lee  took 
up  its  march  for  the  Potomac,  Stuart,  as  usual,  went  forward  to 
cover  its  advance.  On  June  i;th  he  found  himself  confronted 
by  his  old  antagonist,  Pleasanton,  at  Aldie.  Then  followed  a 
series  of  battles  covering  a  period  of  three  days,  in  which  charges 
and  counter  charges  were  frequently  made  with  conspicuous 


38  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

gallantry.  In  these  engagements  the  "Jeff  Davis  Legion"  bore 
an  important  part. 

Company  B  sustained  the  loss  of  Lieutenant  Fisher,  killed, 
and  of  Captain  Henderson,  seriously  wounded. 

Stuart's  loss  was  over  five  hundred,  including  many  valuable 
officers.  Col.  Frank  Hampton,  of  South  Carolina;  Colonel  Sol 
Williams,  of  North  Carolina;  Major  Wheloke,  of  North  Carolina; 
Captain  Farley,  the  noted  scout  and  staff  officer,  and  many  others 
were  killed.  Gen.  W.  H.  T.  Lee,  Col.  M.  C.  Butler,  and  Maj. 
Heros  Von  Borcke,  the  Prussian  staff  officer,  were  wounded. 

In  obedience  to  orders  from  General  Lee  for  crossing  the  Poto- 
mac with  a  part  of  his  command,  Stuart  assembled  at  Salem  the 
three  brigades  of  Hampton,  Fitz.  Lee,  and  W.  H.  F.  Lee  (then  in 
command  of  Colonel  Chambliss).  The  brigades  of  Robertson 
and  Jones,  numbering  3,000,  and  under  command  of  the  former, 
were  left  at  Middleburg,  in  observation  of  the  enemy  on  the 
usual  front,  with  orders  to  report  its  movements  to  Generals  Lee 
and  Longstreet.  It  was  deemed  entirely  practical  at  that  time 
for  Stuart  to  march  directly  to  the  Potomac  through  the  inter- 
vals of  the  Union  Army  corps,  Colonel  Mosby,  the  veteran  scout 
and  partisan  commander,  having  reported  them  as  stationary. 
At  an  early  hour  on  June  25th  Stuart  crossed  the  Bull  Run  moun- 
tain at  Glasscock's  Gap  and  marched  in  the  direction  of  Seneca 
ford  on  the  Potomac.  At  Haymarket  he  encountered  Hancock's 
corps,  which  was  in  motion  and  was  occupying  every  road  leading 
to  the  Potomac.  The  day  before  Longstreet's  corps  had  marched 
to  the  Potomac  at  Williamsport  in  full  view  of  the  enemy  on 
Maryland  Heights,  which  set  the  Army  of  the  Potomac  in  motion. 
Had  Stuart  moved  a  day  sooner,  or  Longstreet  a  day  later,  the 
history  of  Gettysburg,  or  of  the  Pennsylvania  campaign,  would 
no  doubt  read  differently. 

Here,  however,  was  a  condition  facing  Stuart  which,  although 
perhaps  unexpected,  was  not  unprovided  for.  Having  discre- 
tionary orders  in  directing  the  movements  of  the  three  brigades 
under  his  personal  command,  and  believing  that  General  Rob- 
ertson would  report  the  withdrawal  of  the  enemy  from  his  front 
and  promptly  follow  in  the  wake  of  General  Longstreet,  Stuart 
chose  to  march  by  the  rear  and  right  of  Hancock,  hoping  by  hard 
riding  and  hard  fighting,  if  necessary,  to  form  a  juncture  with 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  39 

• 

Ewell  on  the  Susquehanna  before  the  moving  armies  should  join 
battle.  Barring  the  unavoidable  delays  caused  by  battles, 
destruction  of  public  property,  and  convoying  wagon  trains  and 
paroling  prisoners,  the  instructions  of  General  Lee  were  fully 
complied  with,  both  in  the  letter  and  in  the  spirit.  The  failure 
of  General  Robertson  to  report  the  withdrawal  of  the  enemy  from 
his  front,  while  justly  censurable,  is  no  reflection  upon  Stuart, 
only  in  so  far  as  it  illustrates  a  mistake  in  the  selection  of  an 
officer  for  observation.  Observation  in  military  usages  implies 
reports;  otherwise  it  would  be  a  useless  and  senseless  duty 
imposed.  The  records  show  no  reports  from  General  Robertson 
for  that  critical  period.  When  his  whereabouts  were  finally  made 
known  he  was  ordered  to  take  his  proper  place  with  the  army. 

It  appears,  therefore,  that  it  was  not  so  much  the  lack  of  cav- 
alry that  disconcerted  General  Lee's  plans  as  the  absence  of 
Stuart  himself  and  a  failure  to  make  use  of  the  cavalry  he  had  at 
command.  Stuart,  though  remarkably  resourceful,  could  not 
personally  be  on  both  sides  of  the  Potomac,  nor  on  both  sides  of 
South  Mountain,  at  one  and  the  same  time.  It  is  interesting  to 
note  just  here  the  positions  of  the  several  Confederate  cavalry 
forces  on  the  3oth  of  June,  when  the  accidental  meeting  of  the 
two  great  armies  occurred.  Stuart,  with  his  thin  and  weary 
squadrons,  was  fighting  off  the  two  strong  divisions  of  Kilpatrick 
and  Gregg,  whose  presence  was  deemed  necessary  for  the  pro- 
tection of  Meade's  right  flank,  while  Buford's  division  watched 
its  front.  Jenkins's  Confederate  brigade  was  at  Heidleburg,  ten 
miles  away,  and  a  part  of  it  twenty  miles  away.  Imboden't. 
brigade  was  at  Hancock,  thirty  miles  away,  and  Robertson's  and 
Jones's  brigades  were  lying  idle  in  Virginia. 

Gen.  A.  L.  Long,  General  Lee's  biographer,  wrote"  that,  when 
at  Fredericksburg,  Va.,  General  Lee  selected  Gettysburg  as  the 
probable  point  of  contact  of  the  two  armies  in  the  Pennsylvania 
campaign.  But  surely  on  the  3oth  of  June  General  Lee  was  not 
intending  to  precipitate  battle  there.  Otherwise  the  "eyes  of 
the  army"  should  have  been  turned  in  that  direction,  even 
though  "the  knight  of  the  black  plume"  was  off  on  a  "wild  ride." 

However,  Stuart's  ride  of  150  miles  ended  at  Gettysburg  on 
the  evening  of  the  2d  of  July,  where  he  rested  under  the  protec- 

•See  Long's  Memoirs  of  Robert  E.  Lee,  p.  268. 


40  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

tion  of  the  infantry — the  first  and  only  real  rest  within  eight 
days.  On  the  morning  of  the  3d,  reinforced  by  the  brigade  of 
Jenkins,  he  moved  by  the  left  of  the  army  and  attempted  to 
reach  the  rear  of  the  enemy,  then  massed  on  and  behind  Cemetery 
Heights  awaiting  another  assault  by  a  part  of  the  Army  of  North- 
ern Virginia.  Three  miles  east,  on  the  Hanover  road,  he  encoun- 
tered the  Union  cavalry.  Dismounting  a  part  of  his  force  to 
engage  the  enemy's  skirmishers,  he  moved  to  the  right  under 
cover  of  the  woods,  and  then  advanced.  Here  he  was  confronted 
by  a  strong  cavalry  force,  supported  by  artillery.  Realizing  that 
his  object  could  not  be  attained  without  a  fight,  preparations 
were  made  for  forcing  the  issue.  The  skirmish  line  in  front  of 
Hampton  was  hotly  engaged  and  in  the  act  of  giving  way  when 
the  order  came  to  charge.  With  horses  jaded  and  men  worn  out 
and  sore  from  hard  riding,  a  charge  was  a  desperate  and  uncer- 
tain undertaking,  but  with  characteristic  bearing  these  veterans 
drew  sabre  and  moved  forward.  Before  Hampton's  line  was 
well  under  way,  a  reserve  mounted  force  of  the  enemy,  as  yet 
unseen,  advanced,  at  the  sight  of  which  the  Southern  horsemen 
raised  a  yell  of  defiance  and  dashed  madly  onward.  Soon  the 
lines  clashed  together,  when  every  man  fought  for  himself,  on 
the  offensive  or  on  the  defensive,  as  opportunity  or  circumstances 
demanded.  The  commanding  form  of  the  dauntless  Hampton 
was  conspicuous  as  he  dealt  blow  a^ter  blow,  on  the  right  and  on 
the  left,  as  the  Union  troopers  assailed  him.  Members  of  the 
Kemper  County  troop  rallied  to  his  rescue,  just  as  a  sabre  stroke 
rendered  him  hors  de  combat.  In  this  melee  the  gallant  John 
Dunlap,  of  Scooba,  Miss.,  lost  a  leg. 

During  the  almost  daily  conflicts  in  Virginia,  prior  to  the  ad- 
vance into  Pennsylvania,  there  was  a  tacit  agreement  between 
Lieutenant-Colonel  Waring  and  Major  Conner  that  the  latter 
should  lead  the  charges  of  the  "Jeff  Davis  Legion"  in  the  ene- 
my's country,  and  right  nobly  did  he  perform  his  part.  Taking 
position  in  front,  he  ordered  it  forward  and  led  his  willing  fol- 
lowers into  the  very  focus  of  the  fight,  where,  amid  the  rattle  of 
pistols  and  clash  of  sabres,  he  seized  a  guidon  of  the  enemy,  and 
when  ordered  to  surrender  drew  his  pistol  and  killed  two  of  his 
assailants  before  being  himself  killed.  Such  conduct,  under  the 
circumstances,  requires  an  explanation,  which  is  given  by  his 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  41 

brother,  Captain  Conner,  adjutant  of  the  Legion,  who,  after  being 
himself  unhorsed  by  a  sabre  blow  and  trampled  over  by  the  con- 
tending squadrons,  escaped,  and  is  to-day  engaged  in  the  active 
affairs  of  life  at  Natchez.  Major  Connor  was  a  prisoner  in  the 
early  part  of  the  war  and  had  frequently  vowed  that  he  would 
never  again  surrender,  and  fulfilled  it  by  bravely  courting  death 
instead. 

The  thin  platoons  of  Hampton  were  outnumbered  and  worsted, 
but  responded  to  the  rally  call  and  retired  to  their  original  posi- 
tion, where  under  a  long-range  fire  they  awaited  with  Stuart's 
other  brigades  the  result  of  that  "supreme  attempt  to  wrest 
victory  from  Cemetery  Heights,"  and  ready  to  "follow  up  vic- 
tory or  mitigate  defeat."  Here  Jordan  Moore,  of  Kemper 
County,  was  shot  through  and  through,  and  his  orderly  sergeant, 
N.  P.  Perrin,  placed  him  against  a  tree,  gave  him  a  canteen  of 
water,  bade  him  "good-bye,"  and  marked  opposite  his  name  on 
the  roll,  "Killed  in  action;"  but  within  two  months  Moore  ap- 
peared in  camp  sound  and  well  and  served  to  the  end  of  the  war. 
The  losses  of  Stuart  were:  Hampton's  brigade,  92;  Fitz.  Lee's, 
50;  W.  H.  F.  Lee's,  41,  showing  that  Hampton  bore  the  brunt 
of  the  battle. 

Following  that  glorious  defeat  came  the  arduous  task  of  guard- 
ing the  flank  of  the  retreating  army  to  the  Potomac.  Many 
were  the  encounters  on  the  march  that  will  never  find  a  place  in 
history,  as  many  a  cavalryman  who  died  in  bushes  while  on  scout 
or  outpost  duty  will  have  as  a  record  of  service  the  one  doleful 
word,  "Missing,"  and  thus  be  denied  the  poor  privilege  of  a  last 
resting  place  among  hero  comrades  who  lie 

"Where  the  blades  of  the  grave-grass  quiver, 
Asleep  in  the  ranks  of  the  dead!" 

Between  Boonsboro  and  Williamsport,  when  holding  back  a 
force  of  Federal  infantry  and  artillery  marching  to  the  latter 
place  in  an  attempt  to  c.ut  off  the  retreat  of  General  Lee,  men- 
tion is  made  of  two  other  Mississippians  who  gave  their  lives  to 
the  cause,  the  gallant  James  H.  Perrin,  of  Company  C,  and  the 
polished  gentleman  and  superb  soldier,  Thomas  Metcalf,  of 
Company  A. 

The  opinion  expressed  by  General  Sedgwick,  his  classmate, 
friend,  and  "enemy,"  that  J.  E.  B.  Stuart  was  the  best  cavalry 


42  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

general  "ever  foalded  in  North  America"  may  be  a  correct  one, 
and  will  doubtless  stand  uncontradicted,  but  when  the  cavalry 
exploits  of  the  civil  war  are  completely  and  truthfully  written 
there  will  appear  as  a  close  second  the  name  of  the  man  who 
wanted  to  raise  "a  boss  company" — N.  B.  Forrest.  In  considering 
this  indulgent  comparison  it  should  be  remembered  that  Forrest 
had  the  great  advantage  offered  by  nearly  two  years  of  service, 
the  like  of  which  the  lamented  Stuart  was  unfortunately  denied. 
Time  and  opportunity  are  essential  requisites  to  a  well  rounded 
and  successful  career  in  war.  Much  of  the  lustre  that  embel- 
lishes the  name  of  Lee  came  as  a  result  of  achievements  after 
his  defeat  at  Gettysburg. 

Ward's  Mississippi  Battery  (The  Madison  Light  Artillery), 
Company  A  of  Poague's  battalion,  was  attached  to  Fender's 
division,  Hill's  corps. 

During  the  third  day's  battle  it  occupied  a  position  nearly 
opposite  the  center  of  the  Union  line  on  Cemetery  Heights  and 
about  a  half  mile  to  the  west.  The  officers  in  command  were 
George  Ward,  captain;  T.  J.  Richards,  first  lieutenant;  F. 
George,  second  lieutenant;  T.  K.  Kearney,  third  lieutenant. 

The  battery  was  in  reserve  until  the  formation  for  Longstreet's 
assault,  when  it  was  advanced  to  the  main  line  of  artillery.  It 
consisted  of  two  twelve-pound  Napoleons  and  two  twelve-pound 
howitzers.  The  howitzers  being  too  short  to  reach  the  heights, 
were  sent  to  the  rear.  The  Napoleons  were  in  action  during  the 
cannonade,  but  did  not  advance  in  support  of  the  assault,  their 
last  round  of  ammunition  having  been  expended  before  the  in- 
fantry moved.  No  casualties  are  given  for  separate  batteries, 
but  that  of  the  battalion  were:  Killed,  2;  wounded,  24;  miss- 
ing, 6.  The  amount  of  ammunition  expended  was  657  rounds, 
and  the  number  of  horses  killed  or  disabled,  17. 


DAVIS'S  BRIGADE  IN  LONGSTREET'S  ASSAULT. 

While  there  had  been  severe  fighting  in  the  early  morning  on 
the  left  and  around  Gulp's  hill,  the  battle  lines  were  practically 
the  same  as  at  the  close  of  action  on  the  second  day,  with  pos- 
sibly some  advantage  in  advanced  position  on  the  left,  and  cer- 
tainly as  regards  strengthened  fortifications  and  reinforcements 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  43 

in  the  Federal  center.  Pickett's  fresh  division  had  now  arrived. 
Although  no  material  advantage  had  been  gained  since  the  enemy 
occupied  the  Heights  on  the  night  of  the  ist,  General  Lee  now 
ordered  preparations  for  another  assault.  The  two  divisions 
assigned  this  hazardous  duty  were  those  of  Pickett  (Virginia),  of 
Longstreet's  corps,  and  Heth,  of  Hill's  corps,  their  formation 
and  movements  being  under  the  direction  of  General  Longstreet. 
Accordingly  the  divisions  were  placed  in  position  behind  Sem- 
inary Ridge,  Pickett  on  the  right  and  Heth  on  the  left,  with  such 
supports  as  were  deemed  necessary  on  the  flanks  and  in  the  rear. 
Heth  having  been  wounded  on  the  first  day,  his  division  was 
now  under  Pettigrew,  the  senior  brigade  commander,  and  was 
formed  in  the  following  order  from  right  to  left:  Archer's  (Ten- 
nessee) ,  under  Colonel  Frye  (Archer  being  captured) ;  Petti- 
grew's  (North  Carolina),  under  Colonel  Marshall;  Davis's  (Mis- 
sissippi), and  Brockenbough's  (Virginia). 

The  Eleventh  Mississippi,  under  Colonel  Green,  had  joined 
its  brigade  (Davis's)  on  the  night  before.  The  position  of  this 
brigade  for  the  assault  was  just  below  the  crest  of  Seminary 
Ridge,  in  a  skirt  of  timber,  the  Fifty -fifth  North  Carolina  on  the 
right,  the  Eleventh  Mississippi  on  the  left,  with  the  Second  and 
Forty -second  Mississippi  in  the  center. 

At  i  o'clock  P.  M.  the  signal  guns  were  fired  by  the  Washing- 
ton Artillery  of  New  Orleans,  followed  by  the  batteries  along 
Seminary  Ridge,  which  were  replied  to  by  the  Federal  batteries 
on  Cemetery  Hill.  For  two  hours  this  world-renowned  artillery 
duel  continued.  Officers  had  been  sent  to  the  crest  to  view  the 
field  beyond  and  to  inform  the  troops  of  the  situation  in  front. 
So  every  private  knew  what  a  herculean  task  was  being  imposed 
upon  them,  but  never  for  a  moment  did  they  cower.  W.  W. 
Scales,  of  Company  E,  Eleventh  Mississippi,  was  detailed  to  go 
for  water.  Believing  that  he  could  not  return  in  time  for  the 
assault,  called  for  a  volunteer  to  take  his  place,  and  found  one. 
Scales  went  in,  and  to-day  enjoys  the  honor  of  being  enrolled 
among  the  twenty-one  of  his  company  that  were  wounded.  The 
Mississippians  suffered  from  the  very  beginning.  Lieutenant 
Featherston,  of  Company  F,  and  Jerry  Gage,  of  Company  A 
(Eleventh  Mississippi),  were  killed  while  lying  in  position. 
Finally,  after  a  long  and  anxious  delay,  the  order  was  given  to 


44  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

advance,  and  the  line  moved  forward,  slowly  but  steadily. 
Reaching  the  crest  and  coming  in  direct  range  of  the  enemy's 
artillery,  the  ranks  were  thinned  at  every  step.  Five  men  of 
Company  E,  "Prairie  Guards,"  were  put  out  of  action  by  the 
explosion  of  one  shell.  The  assaulting  line  as  formed  not  being 
parallel  to  the  enemy's  works,  the  left  had  a  greater  distance  to 
cover  than  the  right ;  but  quickening  their  step  the  Mississippians 
soon  could  not  fairly  be  considered  as  "supports,"  or  as  in  eche- 
lon formation,  as  they  were  fully  abreast  throughout  the  whole 
line.  Before  reaching  the  Emmittsburg  road,  which  crosses 
diagonally  from  right  to  left  the  intervening  space,  Brocken- 
brough's  brigade  halted.  This  being  quickly  observed  by  the 
enemy,  an  enfilading  fire  was  directed  against  Davis's  flank  with 
telling  effect.  Soon  most,  if  not  all,  of  the  field  officers  were 
either  killed  or  wounded.  No  one  seemed  to  be  in  command. 
It  had  become  a  soldiers'  battle,  in  which  the  Southerners' 
watchword,  "The  grave  of  a  hero  or  victory,"  was  being  glo- 
riously exemplified.  Captain  John  Moore,  of  Company  A, 
"University  Greys"  (Eleventh  Mississippi),  was  in  front,  facing 
the  regiment  and  trying  to  close  up  the  fearful  gaps  being  cut 
in  the  line,  when  Lieut.  A.  J.  Baker,  of  the  same  company, 
shouted,  "For  God  sake,  John,  give  the  command  to  charge!" 
(They  were  classmates  at  Oxford,  and  while  red  blood  was  flow- 
ing so  profusely  red  tape  was  for  the  moment  forgotten.)  "No," 
replied  Moore,  "I  cannot  take  the  responsibility;"  whereupon 
Baker  himself  gave  the  command  and  the  thin  line  rushed  for- 
ward to  the  stone  wall  as  individuals  rather  than  as  an  organ- 
ization. 

True,  many  of  Davis's  brigade  "gave  way,"  leaving  blood 
behind  and  bringing  marks  of  Federal  lead  and  iron  with  them, 
but  almost  an  equal  number  went  down  to  rise  no  more,  or  rising 
to  find  quarters  in  Northern  prisons.  Lieutenant  Belton,  of 
Company  E,  Eleventh  Mississippi,  "gave  way"  with  a  grape  shot 
lodged  in  his  mouth  which  it  required  the  services  of  a  surgeon 
to  remove.  Only  recently  he  answered  the  "last  roll"  in  far 
away  California. 

The  Eleventh  Mississippi  was  the  only  fresh  regiment  of  Heth's 
division  that  participated  in  this  assault.  Its  strength  has  been 
variously  estimated  from  three  hundred  to  four  hundred,  and 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  45 

its  loss  is  generally  placed  at  thirty -two  killed  and  170  wounded. 
While  this  is  official  and  doubtless  based  on  reports,  the  number 
of  killed  is  evidently  incorrect,  for  it  is  positively  known  that 
the  "Prairie  Guards,"  Company  E,  lost  fifteen  killed;  the  "Nox- 
ubee  Rifles,"  Company  F,  lost  eight  killed;  and  the  "Van  Dorn 
Reserve,  Company  G,  lost  eleven  killed,  making  thirty -four  and 
leaving  seven  companies  unaccounted  for. 

The  writer  of  this  article,  in  his  efforts  to  make  a  correct  rec- 
ord, has  ignored  the  spiteful  and  unjust  criticisms  of  certain 
historians,  both  North  and  South,  who  have  had  much  to  say 
of  the  "raw,"  undisciplined  "cowards,"  "men  of  common  clay," 
"who  fled  the  field"  on  the  left,  causing  failure  and  disaster  to 
those  on  the  right  of  the  assaulting  column.  The  facts  here  given 
are  based  on  the  manuscripts  of  surviving  participants,  now  in 
the  possession  of  the  writer.  This  form  of  historical  data  could 
be  extended  would  time  and  opportunity  permit. 

There  may  be  some  people  in  these  "piping  days  of  peace" 
who  entertain  doubts  of  the  reliability  of  recollections  of  such 
distressing  circumstances.  Others  may  condemn  the  rashness 
of  action  in  the  face  of  such  danger;  but  the  veteran  Confed- 
erate soldier,  accustomed  to  such  surroundings,  was  not  deterred 
from  the  performance  of  duty  by  a  sense  of  danger,  an  element 
ever  present  in  battle.  He  went  forward  with  faith  in  himself 
and  in  his  comrades,  bequeathing  his  reputation  as  a  heritage  to 
his  family  and  his  country. 

In  order  that  the  uninformed  reader  may  gain  an  intelligent 
conception  of  the  situation  at  that  time,  it  is  necessary  to  state 
that  a  part,  a  great  part,  of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac  was  posted 
on  and  behind  Cemetery  Hill,  its  main  object  of  defense  being  a 
stone  wall,  with  a  prolonged  structure  of  wood  and  earth.  This 
stone  wall  forms  an  irregular  line  north  and  south.  Near  the 
center  it  recedes  eighty  yards,  speaking  from  the  Confederate 
position.  Just  within  this  angle  of  the  wall  and  to  the  south  of 
it  stands  the  "copse  of  trees"  which  was  the  objective  point  of 
the  assaulting  column.  Upon  it  was  trained  the  Confederate 
artillery  with  great  effectiveness. 

To  the  left  or  north  of  the  angle  is  the  Bryan  barn,  a  frame 
building  standing  in  the  wall,  that  is  the  wall  touches  it  on  either 
side.  This  barn  is  the  front  of  the  position  of  the  left  of  Heth's 


46  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

division,  and  is  the  "high-water  mark"  of  Mississippians  for  that 
afternoon,  being  forty-seven  yards  beyond  the  point  where 
General  Armistead  of  Pickett's  second  line  fell,  a  hero  of  heroes. 

This  statement  is  made  in  the  face  of  historical  assertion  and 
even  of  official  reports  to  the  contrary,  but  the  following  facts  are 
given  to  substantiate  it:  Lieutenant  A.  J.  Baker,  of  Company  A, 
"University  Greys"  (Eleventh  Mississippi),  was  wounded  when 
within  ten  feet  of  the  stone  wall  and  twenty  feet  to  the  left  of 
the  barn,  and  was  captured  by  troops  coming  from  the  left  flank. 
This  enfilading  fire  was  more  destructive  to  Davis 's  force,  espe- 
cially his  left  regiment,  than  to  that  in  front.  DeGraffenried, 
a  brother  of  ex-Congressman  DeGraffenried,  of  Texas,  and  of 
the  same  company  with  Baker,  crossed  the  wall,  was  wounded, 
returned  and  made  his  way  to  the  rear. 

Lieut.  W.  P.  Snowden,  of  Company  G,  "Van  Dorn  Reserves," 
was  wounded  and  captured  near  the  wall.  His  company  went 
in  with  forty-five  men.  Five  of  them  returned  unhurt,  eleven 
were  killed,  and  twenty-nine  wounded. 

Capt.  J.  T.  Stokes,  Company  F,  "  Noxubee  Rifles,"  was 
wounded  within  twenty  steps  of  the  wall,  and  the  few  remaining 
of  the  company  went  on.  John  J.  and  Frank  A.  Howell,  broth- 
ers, reached  the  wall  together.  The  former  went  over,  was  cap- 
tured and  died  a  prisoner.  The  latter  was  wounded  and  returned. 
Lieutenants  Brooks  and  Woods  were  captured,  leaving  but  a  few 
privates  and  no  commissioned  officer. 

Captain  Halbert,  Lieutenants  Mimms  and  Goolsby,  of  Com- 
pany E,  "Prairie  Guards,"  were  killed,  and  Lieutenant  Belton 
was  wounded.  Corporal  John  Morgan  and  Private  John  Sher- 
man reached  the  wall.  Sherman  was  wounded  and  Morgan 
returned  with  him  unhurt.  This  company  entered  the  assault 
with  thirty -seven,  rank  and  file.  Fifteen  were  killed  and  twenty- 
one  wounded,  leaving  only  Corporal  John  Morgan  to  voluntarily 
"give  way."  Company  A,  "Tishomingo  Rifles"  (Second  Mis- 
sissippi), had  but  four  men  left  after  the  assault — George  Rey- 
nolds, C.  Farris,  N.  M.  and  G.  W.  Bynum.  Company  E,  of  the 
same  regiment,  went  in  the  first  day's  battle  with  forty-two 
men,  and  lost  in  killed,  wounded  and  captured  all  except  one 
lieutenant  and  six  men.  This  skeleton  company  went  into  the 
assault  on  the  third  day,  and  only  R.  C.  Jones  and  S.  B.  Scott 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  47 

returned.  Company  B,  "Senatobia  Invincibles"  (Forty -second 
Mississippi),  entered  the  first  day's  battle  with  sixty-one,  rank 
and  file.  At  the  close  of  action  on  the  third  it  had  but  nineteen 
men. 

The  showing  of  these  three  companies  indicates  the  probabil- 
ity, if  not  the  absolute  truth,  of  the  statement  of  Colonel  Ven- 
able,  of  General  Lee's  staff,  that  it  was  a  mistake  to  reckon  Heth's 
division  in  planning  the  assault,  for  it  suffered  more  on  the  first 
day  than  was  reported  and  had  not  recuperated.  Be  that  as  it 
may,  it  is  a  fact  that  many  of  Heth's  wounded  were  present  on 
the  third  day,  the  sight  of  which,  it  is  reported,  made  General 
Lee  shed  tears  and  say  "They  should  not  be  here."  It  was  not 
for  Heth's  people  to  say  when  and  where  they  should  or  should 
not  fight.  Had  the  spirit  of  Stonewall  Jackson  been  present 
the  division  would  have  slept  on  Cemetery  Hill  on  the  night  of 
the  first  day.  But  once  in  the  speculative  field,  it  might  be 
added,  and  that  hill  might  have  proved  a  Vicksburg  or  an  Appo- 
mattox. 

Of  the  Fifty-fifth  North  Carolina,  the  right  of  Davis's  brigade, 
but  meager  information  is  at  hand,  but  it  is  certain  that  Captain 
Satterfield,  of  Company  H,  Lieutenant  Falls,  of  Company  C, 
and  Sergeant  Whitley,  of  Company  E,  reached  the  wall,  and  it 
is  a  reasonable  conclusion  that  others  accompanied  them,  as  also 
in  the  case  of  the  Mississippians  named.  So  far  as  is  known,  no 
field  officer  of  the  brigade  reached  the  wall.  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Humphreys,  commanding  the  Second,  and  Colonel  Miller  the 
Forty-second  Mississippi  regiments,  and  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Smith,  commanding  the  Fifty-fifth  North  Carolina  regiment, 
were  killed.  Colonel  Green  of  the  Eleventh  Mississippi  was 
wounded,  but  the  adjutant  of  the  brigade,  Captain  Magruder, 
brother  of  Gen.  J.  Bankhead  Magruder,  was  killed  on  the  wall 
just  to  the  left  of  the  Bryan  barn,  while  urging  others  by  order 
and  example  to  do  their  duty  as  he  saw  it.  Thus  the  fact  is 
established  by  living  witnesses  that  this  mere  skeleton  of  the 
Davis  brigade  went  as  far  as  human  strength  and  endurance 
could  go,  unaided  by  a  miraculous  interposition  in  their  behalf. 

They  cannot  be  appropriately  likened  unto  a  steel-pointed 
spear,  piercing  the  vitals  of  the  enemy's  line  and  causing  con- 
sternation and  dismay,  but  rather  unto  common  humanity, 


48  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

moving  under  the  impulse  of  an  inherited  spirit  to  do  or  die  in 
the  effort  to  gain  victory  in  a  just  cause. 

While  Mississippi  joins  North  Carolina  in  praise  of  her  peerless 
Pettigrew,  and  Virginia  in  her  love  for  her  fearless  Armistead, 
she  will  ever  remember  with  pride  the  place  where  Magruder 
died,  where  Barksdale  fell,  and  where  the  dauntless  Conner  sac- 
rificed his  valuable  life. 

Southern  historians  of  the  civil  war  period  have  assigned 
various  and  conflicting  reasons  for  the  failure  at  Gettysburg, 
and  as  time  goes  by  others  are  being  advanced. 

The  latest  contribution  on  the  subject  is  by  La  Salle  Corbett 
Pickett,  widow  of  General  George  E.  Pickett,  C.  S.  A.  Says 
Mrs.  Pickett,  in  Pickett's  Charge  at  Gettysburg,  recently  published 
in  various  newspapers  and  periodicals: 

"Longstreet  assented  to  the  invasion  only  on  condition  that  it  should 
still  be  a  campaign  of  defensive  tactics. 

"He  (General  Pickett)  was  equally  loath  to  carry  on  an  aggressive  cam- 
paign of  invasion  of  the  North  when  it  was  proposed." 

In  the  light  of  these  statements,  the  reason  assigned  by  Gen- 
eral Lee  himself  for  failure  is  given : 

"As  to  the  battle  of  Gettysburg,  I  must  again  refer  you  to  the  official 
accounts.  Its  loss  was  occasioned  by  a  combination  of  circumstances. 
It  was  commenced  in  the  absence  of  correct  intelligence.  It  was  contin- 
ued in  the  effort  to  overcome  the  difficulties  by  which  we  were  surrounded, 
and  it  would  have  been  gained  could  one  determined  and  united  blow  have 
been  delivered -by  our  whole  line.  As  it  was,  victory  trembled  in  the  bal- 
ance for  three  days,  and  the  battle  resulted  in  the  infliction  of  as  great  an 
amount  of  injury  as  was  received  and  in  frustrating  the  Federal  campaign 
for  the  season."10 

Gettysburg,  though  unquestionably  the  pivotal  battle  of  the 
War  between  the  States,  was  by  no  means  the  Waterloo  of  the 
Confederacy,  for  hostilities  not  only  continued  for  almost  two 
years,  but  according  to  Federal  statistics  the  Army  of  the  Poto- 
mac, later  appropriately  called  "Grant's  Army,"  lost  in  round 
numbers  10,000  more  men  after  than  before  and  including  Get- 
tysburg. Besides,  immediately  after  the  battle  and  during  the 
retreat,  Lee  was  ever  ready  to  give  Meade  a  Roland  for  an  Oliver. 

That  the  army  had  just  cause  for  doubt  and  discouragement 
its  experience  and  condition  fully  attested.  General  Lee,  whose 

10Letter  written  by  Gen.  R.  E.  Lee  in  1868  to  Maj.  William  H.  McDon- 
ald. See  Gettysburg  Campaign,  by  Col.  R.  M.  Stribling,  p.  68. 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  49 

faith  in  his  men  was  unbounded,  thought  proper,  however,  on 
the  occasion  of  his  stand  at  Hagerstown,  Md.,  to  inform  him- 
self of  the  real  condition  and  spirit  pervading  his  troops.  The 
duty  of  gaining  this  information  was  assigned  the  general 
officers. 

Of  the  picturesque  General  Lafayette  McLaw's  visit  to 
Barksdale's  brigade,  let  Major  Robert  Stiles  in  his  Four  Years 
Under  Marse  Robert  relate: 

"He  was  on  horseback,  riding,  as  I  remember,  a  small,  white  pony 
built  horse,  and  as  he  rode  up  into  the  circle  of  flickering  light  of  camp- 
fire  to  talk  with  the  men,  he  made  quite  a  marked  and  notable  figure. 
The  conversation  ran  somewhat  in  this  line : 

"Well,  boys,  how  are  you?"  "We  are  all  right,  General!"  "They  say 
there  are  lots  of  those  fellows  over  the  way  there."  "Well,  they  can 
stay  there;  we  ain't  offerin'  to  disturb  'em.  We've  had  all  the  fighting 
we  want  just  now;  but  if  they  ain't  satisfied  and  want  anymore,  all 
they've  got  to  do  is  to  come  over  and  get  their  bellies  full."  "Suppose 
they  do  come,  sure  enough,  boys?  What  are  you  going  to  do  with 
them?"  "Why  just  make  the  ground  blue  with  'em,  that's  all;  just 
manure  this  here  man's  land  with  'em.  We  ain't  asking  anything  of 
them,  but  if  they  want  anything  of  us,  why,  just  let  'em  come  after  it 
and  they  can  get  all  they  want;  but  they'll  wish  they  hadn't  come." 
"Well,  now,  I  can  rely  upon  that,  can  I?"  "You  just  bet  your  life  you 
can,  General.  If  we're  asleep  when  they  come,  you  just  have  us  waked, 
and  we'll  receive  'em  in  good  style."  "Well,  good-night,  boys.  I'm 
satisfied." 

The  appearance  of  "Lee's  Miserables"  on  the  retreat  was  pre- 
possessing in  one  respect  only.  Their  muskets  were  clean  and 
their  bayonets  bright,  and  a  firm  and  undaunted  spirit  every- 
where abounded.  With  clothing  dirty  and  ragged,  shoes  worn 
and  broken,  and  hats  dilapidated  and  covered  with  dust,  they 
came  homeward-bound  with  jests,  jokes  and  repartee  that  enliv- 
ened the  march  even  under  such  distressing  conditions.  Twitted 
on  his  shaggy  attire  by  one  of  a  group  of  residents  gathered  on 
the  roadside  to  see  the  "Rebels"  pass,  the  jolly  Neely  Nance,  of 
the  "Noxubee  Rifles,"  apologetically  explained  that  at  the  South 
it  was  the  custom  to  put  on  one's  worst  clothes  on  "hog-killing 
days." 

When  passing  through  the  little  village  of  Greencastle,  Pa.,  a 
bevy  of  young  ladies  appeared  on  the  sidewalk  flaunting  United 
States  flags.  Two,  with  the  national  colors  folded  and  crossed 
over  their  shoulders,  were  especially  demonstrative.  To  an 
army  composed  largely  of  students  of  the  professions  and  men  of 
culture,  men  versed  in  the  amenities  and  civilities  of  life,  this 


5o  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

spirit  of  aggression  displayed  by  ladies  (even  under  the  adverse 
circumstances)  was  a  subject  of  interest  and  admiration.  But 
such  a  display  was  bound  sooner  or  later  to  meet  a  rebuff. 
Every  army,  every  command  has  its  untutored,  uncouth  "dia- 
mond in  the  rough."  Marching  on  sullenly,  weary  and  hungry, 
came  one  of  these  specimens.  Observing  this  demonstration  of 
hostility,  he  halted  and  quietly  observed,  "See  here,  gurls,  youens 
better  take  off  them  durned  flags;  we  old  Rebs  er  hell  on  breast- 
works." The  two  over-patriotic  "gurls"  retired  under  the  first 
fire  amid  the  laughter  of  companions  and  good  natured  cheers 
of  the  soldiers.  ll 

After  crossing  the  Potomac,  and  scrambling  up  the  bank, 
Gabe  Smither,  of  the  "Lamar  Rifles"  (Oxford,  Miss.),  in  passing 
the  regimental  band,  said  to  the  leader:  "Stewart,  by  blood, 
play  Dixie." 

Soon  the  quick  notes  of  that  ever  inspiring  air  wafted  upon 
the  breeze,  when  followed  a  roll  of  the  "rebel  yell"  of  defiance 
that  meant  too  plainly  to  the  enemy  on  the  other  side  that  there 
was  yet  remaining  strength,  determination,  and  fight  in  the 
Army  of  Northern  Virginia. 

Outgeneralled  and  outnumbered,  but  not  conquered ;  defeated, 
but  by  no  fault  of  its  own ;  a  great  loser,  but  inflicting  a  greater 
loss,  it  remembered  with  pride  former  victories  and  accepted 
this  reverse  as  but  "a  ripple  on  the  stream  of  its  destiny." 

And  so  it  battled  on,  with  varying  fortune,  to  the  distant  and 
bitter  end.  The  world  knows  the  result.  With  brigades 
shrunken  to  less  than  battalions,  and  companies  in  some  instances 
to  the  one-man  unit,  the  climax  came,  when  all  was  lost  save 
honor  and  the  consciousness  of  duty  well  and  faithfully  per- 
formed. 

Of  the  16,000  Mississippians  who  went  to  the  Army  of  Northern 
Virginia  during  the  years  1861-65,  tne  records  of  the  closing 
scenes  at  Appomattox  make  this  woeful  numerical  showing: 
Davis's  brigade,  75;  Harris's  brigade,  382;  Humphreys's  bri- 
gade, 257.  These  figures  include  the  details  serving  in  the 
various  departments.  Corp.  Wm.  L.  Taylor,  of  Yazoo  County, 
was  the  only  member  of  Company  B,  Eighteenth  Mississippi 
regiment,  to  answer  roll  call  at  the  final  round-up.  Other  com- 

1  *  An  historic  incident. 


Mississippi  at  Gettysburg. — Love.  51 

panics  made  little  better  showing  and  some  not  so  good.  Missis- 
sippians  in  Virginia  were  peculiarly  unfortunate  in  being  sacri- 
ficially  assigned  in  battle ;  nor  were  they  less  unfortunate  at 
Gettysburg. 

Davis's  brigade,  as  has  been  already  stated,  fought  its  way 
unsupported  into  the  First  Union  corps  on  the  first  day,  losing 
heavily  in  killed,  wounded  and  captured.  Barksdale's  victorious 
advance  on  the  second  day  proved  abortive  for  lack  of  timely 
support.  Davis,  again  on  the  third  day,  was  ingloriously  for- 
saken in  the  assault  and  left  to  advance  under  both  front  and 
flank  fire,  and  then  cursed  for  having  "given  way."  At  Falling 
Water,  on  the  Potomac,  Heth's  division  formed  the  rear  guard. 
To  Gen.  Fitz.  Lee  was  assigned  the  duty  of  protecting  the  infan- 
try, but  under  a  misapprehension  of  the  situation  he  passed  to 
the  ford  below  and  crossed,  thus  precipitating  a  battle  between 
Heth  and  the  Union  cavalry,  in  which  the  heroic  Pettigrew  was 
mortally  wounded. 

To  Heth's  division,  then,  of  which  Mississippians  formed  a 
part,  belongs  the  honor  of  fighting  first  at  Gettysburg  and  last 
at  Falling  Water,  on  the  Potomac. 


RECONSTRUCTION  IN  MONROE  COUNTY. 
BY  GEORGE  J.  LEFTWICH.' 

I.    CITIZENSHIP    OF    MONROE    COUNTY. 

Monroe  County  was  established  in  1821.  It  is  large  and 
populous,  although  it  has  been  more  than  once  dismembered  by 
the  formation  of  other  counties.  It  now  contains  about  764 
square  miles,  has  a  population  of  31,211,  of  which  12,555  are 
white  and  18,656  are  colored.  In  reconstruction  days  the 
negro  population  was  about  the  same  as  it  is  to-day,  and  the 
white  population  about  2,000  less.  Its  soil  is  of  two  distinct 
qualities,  as  divided  by  the  Tombigbee  River.  On  the  east  are 
the  level,  sandy  bottoms,  adjoining  the  river,  forming  gradually 
into  the  hill  country;  on  the  west  are  the  black  prairie  lands. 
The  Tombigbee  cuts  its  way  closely  around  the  east  side  of  the 
black  lime  lands  of  the  prairie,  leaving  the  sandy  pine  lands  on 
the  east.  Its  population  is  founded  largely  upon  two  separate 
immigrations.  The  lands  composing  the  Huntsville  survey 
were  surveyed  and  opened  to  settlement  by  the  Federal  Gov- 
ernment about  the  year  1820.  These  extend  eastward  from  the 
Huntsville  Meridian  to  the  Tombigbee,  as  far  north  as  Gaine's 
Trace,  and  thence  northeast  along  that  ancient  Indian  trail. 
On  the  completion  of  the  survey  just  mentioned  and  the  opening 
of  it  to  settlement,  there  came  a  tremendous  incursion  of  immi- 
grants from  the  hill  country  of  Alabama,  Georgia,  and  still  more 
from  the  State  of  Tennessee.  Among  the  latter  families  were 
the  Prewitts,  who  grew  to  be  wealthy  and  influential,  the  Tubb 
family,  and  numerous  other  large  families  that  might  be  men- 
tioned if  this  were  the  proper  place  to  do  so.  These  settlers 
came  about  the  time  of  the  organization  of  the  county  in  1821. 
About  the  year  1836,  after  the  treaty  with  the  Chickasaws, 
which  opened  their  rich  lands  east  of  the  Tombigbee  River  to 
settlement,  and  after  the  completion  of  the  Chickasaw  survey 
there  was  a  second  immigration  to  the  county  of  citizens  who 

1 A  biographical  sketch  of  the  author  of  this  contribution  will  be  found 
in  the  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  Vol.  VI,  p.  359. 
— EDITOR. 

(53) 


54  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

made  their  homes  mainly  east  of  the  Tombigbee.  These  were 
in  the  main  people  of  wealth,  who  originally  came  from  Virginia, 
North  and  South  Carolina,  and  some  from  Georgia,  and  whose 
fathers  had  settled  in  the  meanwhile  on  the  Tennessee  River  in 
North  Alabama  and  in  that  neighborhood.  The  lands  having 
grown  more  costly  and  the  negroes  more  numerous  in  that 
region,  the  children  of  the  original  settlers  sought  the  rich  black 
lands  west  of  the  Tombigbee,  where  their  descendants  remain 
until  this  day.  The  ancestors  of  these  people,  on  one  or  both 
sides,  are  frequently  traced  to  the  ancient  State  and  colony  of 
Virginia,  and  sometimes  to  the  Huguenots  of  South  Carolina, 
as- their  names  frequently  disclose,  but  in  the  main  they  are  from 
the  distinctly  English  people  who  founded  the  Old  Dominion 
and  settled  the  Carolinas.  Large  and  promiscuous  additions 
have  since  been  made  to  the  population  of  the  county  from  all 
quarters  of  the  land,  but  the  citizenship  has  to  a  great  extent 
become  homogeneous.  The  large  negro  population  is  mainly 
found  west  of  the  river  in  the  prairie  belt,  or  just  east  of  the 
Tombigbee  along  the  rich  sandy  loam  bottom  lands.  There 
was  a  large  body  of  slaveholders  in  the  county  before  the  war, 
but  whether  slaveholder  or  small  hill  farmer,  these  were  the  last 
people  in  the  world  to  be  deprived  of  their  right  to  rule,  or  of 
their  right  of  franchise,  or  to  be  restrained  in  the  free  exercise 
of  their  liberties.  An  effort  in  that  direction  possibly  may  be 
followed  by  a  temporary  calm,  but  such  a  calm  is  nothing  more 
than  the  incubating  period,  when  an  upheaval  is  being  hatched 
which  is  sure  to  make  itself  widely  felt.  These  people,  like  their 
Virginia  and  English  ancestors,  are  generally  invincible  and 
their  disposition  is  to  rule  when  and  wherever  they  get  a  per- 
manent footing. 

II.      RESUMPTION    OF    CIVIL    GOVERNMENT    AFTER    THE    WAR. 

I  deem  it  unnecessary  to  give  the  general  history  of  the  period 
as  a  background  to  the  history  of  reconstruction  in  Monroe 
County,  but  on  the  general  subject  I  especially  refer  the  inter- 
ested reader  to  the  lucid  article,  "Suffrage  and  Reconstruction 
in  Mississippi,"  by  Hon.  Frank  Johnson,  Volume  VI,  p.  141, 
of  the  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society.  After 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftwich.  55 

the  chaotic  conditions  superinduced  by  the  war  between  the 
States,  it  is  an  interesting  comment  on  the  civilization  of  the 
people  to  observe  how  rapidly  they  fell  into  the  channels  of 
normal  civil  government,  regulated  by  law.  There  is  no  better 
criterion  of  the  intelligence  and  character  of  the  general  body 
of  a  people  of  a  country  than  the  Board  of  Supervisors.  They 
come  from  the  smaller  divisions  of  the  county,  are  a  body  to 
which  the  people  delegate  their  financial  matters,  and  are  the 
most  strictly  representative  men  known  to  the  body  politic. 

On  January  5,  1865,  when  the  Confederacy  was  approaching 
its  dissolution,  Floyd  Winter,  H.  M.  McCoy,  J.  T.  Swansey,  B.  B. 
Barker,  and  T.  W.  Baker  qualified  as  members  of  the  Board  of 
Police  of  Monroe  County,  a  body  known  as  the  Board  of  Super- 
visors after  the  Constitution  of  1869.  B.  B.  Barker  was  elected 
president  and  C.  W.  Walton  clerk.  They  were  both  repre- 
sentatives of  large,  respectable  and  wealthy  families.  The 
oaths  which  they  took  were  to  support  the  Constitution  of  the 
Confederate  States  of  America  and  of  the  State  of  Mississippi 
as  long  as  they  remained  citizens  thereof.  Lest  the  matter  be 
in  doubt  the  oath  was  in  proper  form  copied  on  the  minutes. 
When  the  Confederacy  fell,  a  few  months  later,  the  following 
entry  was  made  on  the  minutes  of  the  board: 

"Be  it  remembered  that  at  the  meeting  of  the  members  elect  of  the 
Board  of  Police  of  the  said  County,  said  election  having  been  had  pur- 
suant to  the  proclamation  of  W.  L.  Sharkey,  provisional  Governor  of 
the  State  of  Mississippi,  to  fill  the  unexpired  term  of  two  years  from  the 
first  day  of  Jan.  1865,  the  former  election  of  the  present  term  of  County 
and  City  officers  under  the  Constitution  of  the  so-called  Confederate 
States  having  been  by  recent  act  of  a  Convention  of  the  State  of  Missis- 
sippi declared  unconstitutional,  the  said  members  (naming  them)  met 
at  the  court  house  of  said  County  in  the  City  of  Aberdeen  on  Monday, 
Oct.  9,  1865,  and  after  having  taken  and  subscribed  the  oath  which  is 
hereunder  recorded,  they  are  declared  members  of  said  Board  for  the 
unexpired  term,  to  wit,  until  the  first  Monday  of  Jan.  1867." 

Following  this  is  the  solemn  oath  taken  and  subscribed  by 
all  members  before  C.  W.  Walton,  clerk,  to  support  the  Consti- 
tution of  the  United  States  and  of  the  State  of  Mississippi  as 
long  as  they  continued  citizens  thereof,  and  to  faithfully  per- 
form and  discharge  their  duties  as  officers  and  members  of  the 
board.  The  board  that  was  then  elected  was  composed  of 
Floyd  Winter,  M.  M.  Lewis,  Wm.  Page,  B.  B.  Barker  and 


56  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

T.  W.  Baker.  About  this  time  there  began  to  appear  after  many 
names  on  the  minutes  of  the  board  that  strange  symbol  "F. 
M.  C.,"  meaning  free  male  citizen.  These  occur  mostly  when 
colored  men  asked  for  license  (presumably  under  the  "Black 
Code")  to  keep  a  gun  and  ammunition  to  kill  game.  On  Jan- 
uary 7,  1867,  the  following  Board  of  Police  qualified,  the  first 
named  of  whom  became  an  important  factor  in  reconstruction 
days:  R.  M.  Stockton,  David  Crenshaw,  Wm.  Page,  B.  B. 
Barker  and  T.  W.  Baker.  The  same  board  was  re-elected  and 
took  their  seats  January  n,  1869.  The  term  of  office  of  the 
Board  of  Police  was  two  years.  The  sheriff  at  that  time  was 
S.  F.  Kendrick,  and  the  clerk  John  R.  Gilleylen,  both  of  whom 
were  rewarded  with  office  for  their  arduous  duties  as  Confed- 
erate soldiers.  The  last  minutes  of  this  ancient  and  honorable 
governing  body,  so  respected,  so  representative,  so  conservative, 
are  recorded  on  the  second  Monday  of  April,  1869,  and  are 
signed  by  "David  Crenshaw,  President  pro  tern." 

A  significant  memorandum  on  these  minutes  is  that  B.  B. 
Barker,  President,  was  living  in  Memphis,  he  having  drifted 
away  from  his  home  in  the  upheaval  and  doubtless  in  appre- 
hension of  coming  events.  It  must  not  be  overlooked  at  this 
stage  that  the  Civil  Rights  Bill  had  been  passed  by  Congress  in 
1866  over  the  President's  veto;  that  the  military  governor  of 
Mississippi  had  called  a  convention  for  forming  a  constitution 
on  December  7,  1867;  that  the  convention  met  in  January, 
1868,  and  that  in  the  election  of  delegates  to  that  convention 
held  in  November,  1867,  the  late  slaves,  who  were  set  free  by 
the  war,  first  voted.  The  constitution  had  been  adopted;  it 
had  been  first  submitted  to  the  people  and  defeated,  and  again 
resubmitted  by  President  Grant,  and  accepted  by  the  people, 
put  in  force,  and  the  civil  government  under  the  new  regime 
had  started  on  its  perilous  way.  On  July  12,  1869,  the  first 
Board  of  Supervisors  met  under  the  new  constitution.  It  was 
composed  of  John  E.  Meek,  Alfred  Pickle,  Anthony  Irvin,  O.  H. 
Whitfield  and  N.  B.  Munson,  "each  of  whom,"  recite  the  min- 
utes, "have  been  duly  and  legally  appointed  according  to  law 
and  have  qualified,  and  they  therefore  proceeded  to  organize 
by  electing  John  E.  Meek  President."  These  were  appointed, 
it  must  be  observed,  by  the  then  military  Governor  of  Missis- 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftwich.  57 

sippi,  Adelbert  Ames,  the  first  civil  Governor  not  having  been 
elected  until  the  following  fall.  James  Oldshoe  appears  as 
sheriff  and  J.  B.  Woodmansee2  as  clerk,  the  latter  of  whom 
figured  conspicuously  in  the  several  years  to  follow  and  about 
whom  more  will  be  said,  but  the  first  minutes  of  the  board  are 
not  in  his  well  known  "unpracticed  hand." 

From  this  time  on  the  county  government  was  chaotic  and 
irregular,  being  in  the  hands  of  foreigners  whose  names  were 
never  heard  of  before,  imported  for  the  occasion  by  the  then 
military  Governor  and  installed  in  office.  James  Oldshoe,  the 
last  sheriff  mentioned,  was  an  old  citizen  of  the  county,  but  his 
successor  appearing  on  the  scene  at  the  September  meeting  of 
the  board,  was  C.  F.  Holle.  Holle  (pronounced  Holley)  was  a 
big  shouldered,  boisterous  braggart.  He  seems  to  have  been 
selected  for  his  muscularity.  He  came  south  from  the  State  of 
Pennsylvania,  and  Governor  Ames  made  him  sheriff  of  Monroe 
County.  He  was  by  his  wild  conduct  embroiled  in  several  per- 
sonal difficulties  with  members  of  the  bar  and  others  and  was 
soon  induced  to  leave.3  Col.  A.  P.  Huggins  appeared  as  sheriff 
at  the  November  term  of  the  board,  1869.  Huggins  was  from 
Niles,  Michigan,  about  forty  years  of  age,  and  a  man  of  orderly 
habits.  He  later  became  superintendent  of  public  schools,  was 
a  member  of  the  Baptist  Church  and  at  one  time  its  Sunday- 
school  superintendent.  Early  in  his  career  he  was  accused  of 
being  too  fond  of  negro  social  equality,  but  he  so  far  recovered 
from  that  as  to  offer  to  assist  the  Democrats  to  overthrow 
negro  rule  in  1875.  His  proffer  was  accepted,  but  his  influence 
was  small.  At  the  January  meeting,  1870,  of  the  board,  R.  B. 
Little  appeared  as  sheriff.  Sheriff  Little  and  his  brother,  Finis 
H.  Little,  were  Kentuckians  of  respectable  family.  They  were 
men  of  talent  and  force.  Finis  H.  Little  became  later  State 
Senator  and  married  into  a  well  known  and  respectable  family 
of  Aberdeen.  He  had  been  a  Union  soldier.  They  were  men 

2  Woodmansee  was  a  typical  carpetbagger  from  Indiana  whose  political 
idol  was  Oliver  P.  Morton  of  that  State.  He  came  like  driftwood  from 
the  ocean  and  became  at  once  identified  with  the  local  Republican  poli- 
ticians. He  appears  to  have  been  more  or  less  illiterate.  He  returned 
North  and  married,  but  lost  his  wife  later.  He  encountered  sundry 
afflictions  and  buffetings  and  in  a  few  years  disappeared  from  view. 

3See  article  of  Judge  R.  C.  Beckett,  Vol.  VIII,  p.  177,  of  the  Publica- 
tions of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 


58  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

of  courage  and  became  naturally   leaders   of   any   cause   they 
espoused. 

The  office  of  sheriff  and  of  clerk,  the  two  most  important  offices 
of  the  county,  seem  to  have  been  held  by  Little  and  Woodmansee 
respectively  until  the  reorganization  of  the  State  government 
after  the  adoption  of  the  Constitution  of  1869.  The  first  meet- 
ing of  the  new  Board  of  Supervisors  of  Monroe  County  under 
the  new  constitution  was  held  the  first  Monday  in  September, 

1870.  The  board  was  composed  of  W.  W.  Troup,  Elisha  Howell, 
George  Pickle,   Price  Hogan  and  Spencer  Watkins.     The  first 
three  members   of  the  board  were  representative  white  men, 
Col.  W.  W.  Troup  being  one  of  the  wealthiest  and  most  respected 
citizens  of  the  county.     Price  Hogan  and  Spencer  Watkins  were 
negroes,  and  their  presence  in  office  cast  the  first  shadow  of  the 
storm  to  follow.     The  board,  as  then  constituted,  was  not  very 
threatening  to  the  finances  of  the  county  because  the  majority 
were    representative    white    men.     Public    improvements    were 
then  begun,  however,  which  were  later  completed  and  which 
resulted  in  extravagance  and  graft.     This  board  had  the  appoint- 
ment of  the  grand  juries  of  the  county,  two  negroes  represented 
the  two  supervisors'  districts  west  of  the  river,  and  the  grand 
jurors  from  those  districts  were  usually  negroes.     Many  of  these 
negroes  are  still  living  and  many  of  them  are  negroes  of  the 
commonest  character.     During  the  fall  of  1871   Elisha  Howell 
was  removed  for  some  cause,  and  Adam  Bradford  was  appointed 
in  his  stead;    Spencer  Watkins  resigned  and  Finis   H.   Little 
appeared    in    his    stead.     The    successors    of    this    board    were 
elected  the  first  Tuesday  after  the  first  Monday  of  November, 

1871.  The  board  then   elected  and  which   qualified  the   first 
Monday   in  January,    1872,  was  composed  of  T.   R.   Caldwell, 
W.  C.  Thomas,  Washington  L.  Walton,  Geo.  Strong  and  Price 
Hogan.4     This  board  was  also  composed  of  three  white  men 
and   two  negroes,    Strong   and   Hogan   being  negroes.     W.    L. 
Walton    was    elected    president.     Caldwell    and    Thomas    were 
both  from  that  part  of  the  county  chiefly  inhabited  by  white 

*  Hogan,  who  soon  became  President  of  the  Board,  is  still  living  in 
Monroe  County,  and  is  a  respectable  colored  citizen.  He  is  a  real  African 
and  a  preacher.  He  was  a  slave  and  has  little  education.  He  claims 
to  have  made  some  money  out  of  politics,  but  says  he  lost  most  of  it 
lending  it  to  his  political  friends.  He  claims  to  be  doing,  and  doubtless 
is  doing,  all  he  can  to  enlighten  his  race. 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftwich.  59 

people,  which  was  east  of  the  Tombigbee,  and  seem  to  have  set 
their  faces  squarely  against  the  threatened  misrule.  One  of 
the  first  protests  which  we  find  them  recording  on  the  minutes 
was  against  an  order  of  the  board  allowing  the  return  of  a  fine 
imposed  for  selling  firearms  to  freedmen.  There  seems  to  have 
been  a  statute  passed  by  the  Legislature  which  enacted  the 
famous  "Black  Code"  forbidding  the  sale  of  firearms  to  freed- 
men. Very  soon  thereafter  these  same  supervisors  moved  for 
the  discharge  of  one  J.  H.  Anderson,  who,  in  the  employment 
of  the  board,  was  superintending  the  construction  of  the  county 
bridge  across  the  Tombigbee.  The  reason  they  assigned  was 
that  Anderson  was  a  party  to  the  building  contract.  On  July 
3,  1872,  Chesley  Young,  another  negro,  appears  in  the  place 
of  Geo.  Strong  as  supervisor.  At  the  August  meeting  the  Presi- 
dent, W.  L.  Walton,  resigned,  to  take  effect  October  25th.  In 
his  place  Wm.  Watson,  another  negro,  was  elected  or  appointed. 
At  the  October  meeting,  1872,  these  three  negroes,  constituting 
a  quorum,  met  and  elected  Price  Hogan  president,  and  fined 
W.  C.  Thomas  and  T.  R.  Caldwell  five  dollars  each  for  being 
absent.  This  seems  to  have  been  a  special  meeting.  On 
October  2ist,  reciprocating  the  compliment,  Caldwell  and 
Thomas  held  a  special  meeting  and  fined  Hogan,  Young  and 
Watson  each  five  dollars  for  being  absent  from  the  special 
meeting.  The  minutes  of  the  board  from  this  time  on  for  quite 
a  while  are  authenticated  by  the  scrawl  of  Price  Hogan,  the 
negro  president,  who  sometimes  signed  himself  as  Price  Hogan 
and  sometimes  as  J.  P.  Hogan.  A  considerable  contest  seems 
to  have  sprung  up  about  this  time  between  Caldwell  and 
Thomas  and  these  three  negroes,  who  not  only  insisted 
on  ruling  in  their  respective  districts,  but  also  in  the 
white  districts  represented  by  Caldwell  and  Thomas.  It 
seems  that  A.  P.  Huggins,  who  lived  in  the  Fourth  District, 
filled  the  office  of  sheriff  for  a  time.  He  is  the  one  who  later 
became  Superintendent  of  Public  Instruction  and  whose  whip- 
ping by  the  Ku  Klux  created  such  widespread  disturbance. 
He  began  his  political  career  as  school  director  in  Caldwell's 
district,  the  first.  This  action  was  later  rescinded  and  J.  A. 
Johnson,  a  resident  citizen,  appointed.  The  grand  jurors  were 
appointed  at  the  January  meeting,  1872,  and  we  find  Caldwell 


6o  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

and  Thomas  loudly  protesting  because  they  were  not  allowed 
to  appoint  or  name  the  grand  jurors  from  their  districts.  In 
March  Caldwell  tendered  his  resignation  as  supervisor, .  but  it 
was  not  accepted  for  some  reason,  or  perhaps  withdrawn.  It 
was  at  this  time  that  the  bridge  over  a  very  small  stream  in  the 
county  was  let  by  contract  to  Wm.  H.  Hodges  for  $4,000.  The 
price  was  considered  so  outrageous  and  raised  such  a  storm  of 
opposition  that  the  contract  was  later  rescinded  and  relet  for 
only  a  few  hundred  dollars.  At  this  same  meeting  Price  Hogan, 
the  president,  was  allowed  the  sum  of  fifty  dollars,  a  special 
allowance,  for  signing  the  bonds  recently  issued  to  the  Mem- 
phis &  Selma  Railroad.  Caldwell  again  protested.  At  the 
May  meeting,  1873,  Caldwell  and  Thomas,  apparently  in  sheer 
desperation,  resigned  their  places  on  the  board.  Some  thought 
they  should  have  stood  by  their  guns,  but  they  thought  other- 
wise. They  spread  on  the  minutes  of  the  board  the  following 
protest,  which  is  here  given  in  full: 

"This  day  Messrs.  Caldwell  &  Thomas,  members  of  this  board  from 
the  first  and  second  districts,  presented  their  resignations  to  the  board, 
which  is  in  the  words  and  figures  as  follows,  to  wit: 

"To  the  Honorable  Board  of  Supervisors  of  Monroe  County,  State  of  Mis- 
sissippi: 

"The  undersigned  members  of  this  board  from  the  first  and  second 
districts  of  said  county,  beg  leave  to  tender  this,  their  resignation  as 
members  of  this  board,  and  state  that  they  will  positively  not  serve 
longer  as  members  of  said  board. 

"They  further  beg  leave  to  offer  the  following  reasons  as  operating 
upon  their  minds  and  consciences  to  induce  this  action: 

ist.  Because  the  action  of  the  majority  of  the  board  is  so  fraught  with 
ignorance  and  corruption  as  to  render  all  the  members  personally  and 
pecuniarily  liable  for  its  action  and  bring  upon  its  members  the  just  oppro- 
brium of  all  honest  and  upright  citizens. 

"and.  Because  the  undersigned  are  not  willing  to  bear  any  part  of 
such  opprobrium,  not  being  in  any  wise  responsible  for  the  same,  and 
the  action  of  the  board  being  controlled  for  unconsciable  partisan  pur- 
poses. 

"3rd.  Because  of  the  indifference  of  the  citizens  of  the  county  in  not 
supporting  the  protests  of  the  undersigned  as  members  of  said  board  by 
taking  legal  steps  to  prevent  the  great  frauds  of  the  majority  of  the  said 
board  on  the  finances  of  the  county. 

"T.  R.  CALDWELL. 
"W.  C.  THOMAS." 

Upon  motion  of  Chess  Young  "it  was  ordered  that  the  above 
resignation  be  received  and  approved,  and  that  the  said  Cald- 
well and  Thomas  be  and  they  are  hereby  released  as  officers 
of  this  board." 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Lejtwich.  61 

The  resignation  of  these  members  left  three  illiterate  and 
practically  irresponsible  negroes  masters  of  the  county  affairs 
of  one  of  the  wealthiest  counties  of  the  State,  many  of  whose 
citizens  for  wealth,  intelligence  and  civilization  would  rank 
with  any  in  the  country.  The  vacancies  on  the  board  seem 
not  to  have  been  filled  until  the  November  election,  those 
elected  taking  their  seats  the  first  Monday  in  January,  1874. 
To  make  matters  still  worse  S.  C.  Anderson,  sheriff,  died 
in  the  fall  of  that  year,  and  on  October  13,  1873,  J.  S.  Wat- 
kins,  a  young  and  illiterate  negro,  who  had  been  thereto- 
fore elected  coroner,  succeeded  to  the  sheriffalty  and  was 
recognized  as  such  on  October  30,  1873.  The  new  Board  of 
Supervisors  who  qualified  January  5,  1874,  was  composed  of 
R.  N.  Stockton,  Lafayette  Willis,  Chess  Young,  Wm.  Watkins 
and  James  Stith.  The  first  two  were  citizens  of  the  highest 
character,  the  last  three  were  negroes.  Colonel  Willis  was 
elected  president  and  Stockton  was  standing  protestor  from 
that  time  on.  Colonel  Willis  was  one  of  the  wealthiest  and  most 
respected  citizens  of  the  county  and  seems  to  have  exercised 
his  talents  by  controlling  the  negroes  by  gentle  and  persuasive 
methods,  but  Stockton  was  a  real  son  of  Thunder.  His  pro- 
tests spread  on  the  minutes  are  mild  and  civil,  but  his  anath- 
emas uttered  at  the  meetings  of  the  board  are  said  to  have  been 
sulphuric  in  the  extreme.  Judge  Stockton,  as  he  was  famil- 
iarly known  to  a  ripe  old  age,  was  a  prosperous  and  well  to  do 
farmer  in  the  hill  country  and  a  man  of  the  very  highest  char- 
acter, and  he  contended  that  strong  and  biting  language  was 
not  improper  for  a  gentleman  in  such  times  as  those  which  we 
are  now  chronicling.  So  that  when  measures  that  he  opposed 
were  carried,  and  when  his  own  measures  were  voted  down  by 
his  adversaries,  and  when  unjust  allowances  and  levies  were 
made  and  contracts  let  which  he  deemed  improper,  he  would 
take  comfort  in  chastening  the  three  negroes  with  a  dreadful 
scourge  of  abuse.  This  he  kept  up  all  through  those  days  of 
misrule.  While  he  did  not  boast  of  the  service  thus  performed, 
there  is  no  computing  how  many  dollars  he  saved  to  the  oppressed 
people  by  his  torrents  of  denunciation  and  his  actual  and  threat- 
ened use  of  his  great  hickory  walking  stick. 


6a  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

James  W.  Lee  was  elected  sheriff  at  the  November  election5 
of  1873  for  the  full  term,  and  seems  to  have  been  elected  also  for 
the  unexpired  term  in  place  of  the  negro,  Joe  Watkins,  who  had 
been  coroner.  Captain  Lee  was  a  gallant  Confederate  soldier 
in  a  Texas  command  and  married  into  one  of  the  best  families 
of  Monroe  County.  He  was  formerly  a  Democrat,  but  seems  to 
have  agreed  with  Governor  Alcorn  that  the  best  way  to  serve 
his  country  was  to  join  the  Republicans  and  aid  in  controlling 
the  negroes  and  preventing  misrule  among  them.  He  became 
the  leader  of  the  Republican  party  in  the  county.  He  was  and 
is  still  a  man  of  a  great  deal  of  force  and  courage  and  character, 
and  was  finally  overthrown  in  the  upheaval  that  occurred  on  the 
3d  of  November,  1875.  He  did  much  to  keep  the  Republican 
party  alive,  but  finally  became  more  or  less  lukewarm,  due  no 
doubt  to  the  continued  failures  which  he  suffered.  He  was 
later  twice  postmaster  in  Aberdeen  and  is  now  a  respected  citi- 
zen of  Birmingham,  Alabama. 

A  number  of  negroes  held  office  in  the  county  of  Monroe  who 
qualified  in  January,  1874.  One,  Wm.  Holmes,  who  had  been 
a  representative  in  the  Legislature,  was  elected  treasurer. 
One  Howard  Settle  was  deputy  sheriff  under  Lee,  but  was  al- 
lowed by  Lee  to  execute  process  only  on  the  colored  people. 
One,  Ed.  Williams,  was  on  the  police  force  of  the  city  of  Aber- 
deen, and  about  this  time  sundry  negroes  were  justices  of  the 
peace  within  the  bounds  of  the  county. 

The  tax  levies  were  very  high  as  compared  with  what  they 
are  now  and  with  what  they  should  have  been,  but  they  were 
not  so  extortionate  as  in  many  other  portions  of  the  State,  due, 
no  doubt,  in  many  instances  to  the  protests  of  Caldwell  and 
Thomas,  the  big  stick  of  Stockton  and  the  just  resentment  of  a 
large  citizenship,  none  of  whom  were  very  submissive.  I  find 
that  the  levy  in  1871  was  twenty -seven  mills;  in  1872  it  was 
300  per  cent  of  the  State  levy;  in  1873  it  was  thirty -four  and 

5 1  have  been  furnished  by  Judge  Baxter  McFarland  with  a  copy  of 
the  Republican  election  ticket  voted  Nov.  4,  1873.  The  candidates  for 
Chancery  Clerk,  Treasurer,  Assessor,  Coroner  and  Ranger  and  two  of 
the  three  Representatives  were  negroes.  Capt.  Lee  led  the  ticket  for 
Sheriff  and  on  the  back  is  printed  his  picture  festooned  with  flags  and 
this  certificate  to  be  signed  by  each  voter:  "I  certify  that  I  voted  this 
ticket  without  scratches  or  erasure  on  the  4th  day  of  November,  1873." 

[SIGNATURE.] 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Lejlwich.  63 

three-eighths  mills;  in  1874,  thirty  and  eight-tenths  mills;  and 
in  1875  it  was  nineteen  and  eighty -eight  one-hundred  ths  mills. 
These  levies,  compared  with  those  of  the  present  day,  consid- 
ering the  public  improvements  now  being  made,  are  very  high. 
One  of  the  greatest  excesses  indulged  in  by  this  board  of  super- 
visors was  the  length  of  time  they  sat.  For  instance,  in  January, 
1871,  they  sat  fourteen  days;  in  February  they  sat  nine  days. 
Special  meetings  were  frequent  all  along  through  the  month, 
sometimes  a  quorum  was  present,  sometimes  not.  Another 
species  of  extravagance  seems  to  have  been  the  jobs  they  let 
to  white  men  mostly  for  constructing  or  overseeing  the  public 
improvements  going  on  in  the  county.  The  carpet  baggers 
seem  to  have  been  here  in  force,  the  negro  was  in  office,  but 
local  white  men  seem  always  to  have  been  found  who  would 
accept  a  large  stipend  for  nominal  public  service. 

III.  ABERDEEN  CITY  GOVERNMENT. 

The  Aberdeen  city  government  shows  the  same  condition  of 
anarchy  that  prevailed  in  the  county.  One  J.  F.  Lacey  was 
appointed  mayor  about  October,  1870,  by  the  then  military 
Governor  Ames.  Some  instances  of  Lacey 's  administration 
and  the  mock  tragedy  of  his  leaving  Aberdeen  are  recited  in 
the  article  of  Judge  Becket,  Volume  VIII,  page  177,  Publica- 
tions of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society.  Lacey  was  from 
Pennsylvania  originally.  He  had  some  generous  instincts  and 
was  by  no  means  a  coward,  but  his  bed  was  certainly  not  one 
of  roses.  During  his  administration  of  the  mayor's  office  it 
was  brought  to  his  attention  that  in  order  for  him  to  preserve 
his  honor  it  was  necessary  for  him  to  challenge  for  a  duel  one 
Tom  Ragsdale,  a  young  man  about  town,  who  it  seems  had  been 
abusive  of  him  in  some  respect.  Lacey  challenged  Ragsdale,  and 
Ragsdale  decided  to  fight  "fist  and  skull."  T.  G.  Elliot,  now 
of  Memphis,  was  selected  as  Lacey's  second,  and  M.  H.  Stevens, 
a  city  employe,  was  selected  as  Ragsdale's  second.  Lacey  was 
a  powerful  man  and  both  of  the  seconds  were  afraid  that  he 
would  badly  use  up  Ragsdale.  The  ring  for  the  fight  was  estab- 
lished on  the  bank  of  the  river,  and  it  began  with  a  considerable 
crowd  which  continued  to  swell  until  almost  half  of  the  male 


64  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

population  of  the  town  was  there  before  it  was  over.  Stevens, 
Ragsdale's  second,  now  a  respected  citizen  of  this  county, 
states  that  his  principal  would  certainly  have  been  worsted 
but  for  the  fact  that  Lacey  had  a  magnificent  flowing  beard, 
which  Ragsdale  got  hold  of  in  the  melee  and  refused  to  let  go 
until  his  antagonist  was  out  of  breath.  This  duel  was  of  course 
a  huge  burlesque  in  which  all  conspired  against  Lacey  to  bring 
him  into  ridicule.  Things  could  not  go  too  far,  however,  at  this 
time,  as  Lacey  was  appointed  by  the  military  power  and  a 
detachment  of  the  Federal  soldiers  was  quartered  at  Aberdeen, 
which  he  could  at  any  time  call  to  his  aid.  Lacey 's  docket 
shows  a  huge  number  of  breaches  of  the  peace  for  a  town  of  the 
size  of  Aberdeen  at  that  time.  In  December,  1870,  thirty-five 
(35)  were  docketed;  in  November  preceding,  twenty-eight  (28), 
and  in  January  following  twenty -four  (24).  Some  of  the  de- 
fendants' names  it  is  deemed  not  improper  to  give,  as  their 
appearance  in  the  roles  they  were  then  playing  is  no  discredit 
at  this  day,  especially  considering  the  character  of  the  men. 
For  instance,  I  find  the  city  of  Aberdeen  against  Judge  Joel  M. 
Acker,  three  cases  for  cursing  and  resisting  an  officer;  the  city 
of  Aberdeen  against  R.  C.  Becket,  disturbing  the  peace" ;  the 
city  of  Aberdeen  against  W.  H.  Clopton,  fighting;  the  city  of 
Aberdeen  against  John  D.  McClusky,  fighting;  the  city  of 
Aberdeen  against  F.  G.  Barry,  disturbing  the  peace;  the  city 
of  Aberdeen  against  W.  D.  Hooper,  disturbing  the  peace.  It 
is  a  little  odd  that  nearly  all  of  these  "insurgents"  against  the 
city's  rule  were  lawyers  and  young  men  who  became  prominent 
lawyers  afterward.  We  find  numerous  entries  like  this  also: 
The  city  of  Aberdeen  against  W.  B.  Woodmansee,  "drunk  and 
down."  It  will  be  remembered  that  Woodmansee  was  chancery 
clerk.  We  shall  have  more  to  say  about  him  later. 

Lacey 's  last  entry  was  made  April,  1871,  about  which  time 
no  doubt  his  hasty  departure  occurred,  which  is  graphically 
chronicled  in  the  article  of  Judge  Becket,  already  referred  to. 
Lacey  was  succeeded  by  Captain  J.  W.  Lee,  who  served  until 
he  became  sheriff,  and  was  succeeded  as  mayor  by  T.  J.  Bran- 
nin.  It  would  be  extremely  interesting  to  give  all  the  stories 

6The  peace  was  broken  in  all  of  these  encounters  we  have  heard  of  by 
personal  difficulties  either  with  carpet  bagger  officers  or  federal  soldiers, 
sometimes  officers,  sometimes  privates. 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftwich.  65 

that  are  told  about  the  "fights  and  foot  races"  that  occurred 
in  Aberdeen  about  this  time  while  the  Federal  soldiers  were 
here  and  while  these  chaotic  conditions  prevailed.  Tragedy 
and  comedy  were  thoroughly  intermixed.  A  few  of  these  inci- 
dents will  be  referred  to  later  on  in  connection  with  the  defend- 
ants already  mentioned  who  were  prosecuted  before  the  mayor. 
That  the  soldiers  were  not  strict  preservers  of  the  peace  is 
clearly  evident  from  the  great  number  of  fines  imposed  against 
them  for  breaches  of  the  peace.  Another  commentary  is 
apropos  to  this  history,  which  is  that,  where  fines  were  imposed 
by  the  mayor  against  the  distinguished  lawyers  and  gentlemen 
whose  names  we  have  given  as  being  prosecuted,  rarely  does 
it  appear  that  one  is  marked  "paid."  It  seems  that  they  would 
suffer  themselves  to  be  arrested  and  fined,  but  there  the  ma- 
chinery of  the  law  would  stop.  Whether  it  was  a  lack  of  funds 
or  whether  they  further  resisted  the  officer  does  not  appear. 


IV.    UNDER    THE    CONSTITUTION    OF    1869. 

The  events  that  immediately  followed  the  adoption  of  the 
Constitution  of  1869  palpably  demonstrated  to  every  one  that 
a  new  order  of  things  had  come  about.  As  the  common  expres- 
sion was,  "the  bottom  rail  was  on  top."  How  the  people  would 
extricate  themselves  no  one  could  pretend  to  foresee.  A  rude 
and  startling  suggestion  of  this  new  order  was  the  ejection  of 
Governor  Humphreys,  a  civil  Governor  elected  by  the  people, 
who  had  only  held  his  office  by  sufferance  of  the  Federal  authori- 
ties, from  the  gubernatorial  mansion,  and  the  installation 
therein  of  Adelbert  Ames  as  military  Governor.  The  Legis- 
lature which  met  in  January,  1870,  contained  forty  negroes, 
and  among  them  was  Wm.  Holmes  from  Monroe  County.  The 
Federal  troops,  stationed  at  the  various  centers  of  the  State, 
were  directly  under  the  command  of  the  military  Governor 
and  ready  to  vindicate  the  authority  of  the  new  government 
officials  in  whatever  they  undertook.  These  events  naturally 
developed  sundry  disorders.  Chaos  prevailed  throughout  the 
State.  The  people  were  not  without  hope  that  the  end  would 
come  somehow,  but  how  they  knew  not.  It  was  about  1869-70 


66  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

that  the  famous  Ku  Klux  Klan,  a  secret  society,  was  organized, 
which  created  widespread  comment.  General  Forrest,  "the 
wizard  of  the  saddle,"  was  about  that  time  building  the  Mem- 
phis &  Selma  Railroad  through  Monroe  County.  Forrest  is 
sometimes  credited  with  organizing  the  Ku  Klux,  but  that  is 
now  known  not  to  be  true.  Certain  it  is  that  he  and  his  brother, 
Wm.  Forrest,  boarded  at  the  well  known  city  hotel,  then  and 
for  many  years  afterward  kept  by  Major  Warren  A.  Webb  and 
his  good  wife.  This  hotel  stood  on  the  elevation  just  north  of 
the  county  courthouse,  and  there  Forrest  and  his  brother  spent 
many  nights  and  Sundays,  and  of  course  they  were  not  without 
interest  in  what  was  passing  at  the  time.  There  cannot  be  a 
doubt  that  many  a  secret  conclave  was  held  between  the  men 
who  exercised  and  controlled  the  Ku  Klux  and  the  Forrests. 
"The  Robinsons"  was  another  secret  order  of  like  character 
which  existed  about  the  same  time.  Gen.  S.  J.  Gholson  was  the 
head  of  the  Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Monroe  County. 

While  the  first  negro  Legislature  was  in  session  in  March, 
1870,  an  incident  happened  which  acquired  widespread  interest 
and  which  finally  reached  the  ears  of  Congress  and  the  courts. 
I  refer  to  the  whipping  by  the  Ku  Klux  of  Col.  A.  P.  Huggins, 
who  was  then  Superintendent  of  Education  in  Monroe  County. 
He  was  organizing  public  schools  among  the  negroes  and  was 
supposed  to  be  giving  them  encouragement  in  the  line  of  de- 
manding their  political  rights,  and  some  thought  was  advocating 
social  equality.  I  can  hardly  think  he  was  doing  the  latter, 
for  he  seems  to  have  been  a  man  of  some  standing  and  of  a 
moral  and  religious  character.  At  any  rate  the  Ku  Klux  saw 
fit  in  one  of  their  nightly  escapades  to  surround  him  where  he 
was  at  the  home  of  a  Mr.  Ross,  where  he  was  stopping  in  the 
country,  and  severely  whip  him.  The  man  who  did  the  actual 
whipping  is  now  a  well  known  citizen  of  Monroe  County  whose 
name  it  is  needless  to  call. '  For  a  special  account  of  this  occur- 

7 Some  say  the  bloody  shirt  worn  by  Huggins  was  carried  to  Washing- 
ton by  an  army  officer,  turned  over  to  Gen.  Butler  and  that  he  waived 
the  ensanguined  garment  in  an  impassioned  sectional  speech  and  that 
the  incident  gave  rise  to  what  is  called  "waiving  the  bloody  shirt."  I 
have  not  been  able  to  positively  verify  this  statement  though  it  is  vouched 
for  by  no  less  an  authority  than  Major  S.  A.  Jonas.  Dr.  Spofford,  the 
learned  ex-Librarian  of  Congress,  says  that  no  such  incident  occurred 
in  the  hall  of  the  House  of  Representatives.  Lieutenant  Pickett  is  said 
to  have  carried  the  "bloody  shirt"  away  from  here. 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftwich.  67 

rence  I  again  refer  to  the  article  of  Judge  Becket,  Volume  VIII, 
page  177,  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Certain  it  is  that  this  occurrence  gave  the  people  of  Monroe 
County  much  cause  for  regret,  although  none  now  or  then  were 
or  are  disposed  to  censure  the  motives  of  the  men  participating 
in  the  whipping.  The  Ku  Klux  Klan  became  so  powerful  and 
bold  in  its  operations  that  Congress,  on  April  20,  1871,  passed 
the  Anti  Ku  Klux  Act.  When  the  United  States  Court  met  at 
Oxford  many  citizens  of  Monroe  County  were  indicted  for  Ku 
Kluxing,  among  them  being  W.  D.  Walton  and  twenty-seven 
other  persons  who  were  charged  with  killing  a  negro.  The 
name  of  the  negro  was  Alex  Page,  who  lived  on  the  plantation 
of  Mr.  Andrew  Pope,  east  of  the  Tombigbee.  A  writ  of  habeas 
corpus  was  taken  out  before  Judge  Hill  to  test  the  constitution- 
ality of  the  Act,  and  the  famous  trial  known  as  ex  parte  Walton 
et  al.  began  June  28,  187.1,  at  Oxford.  A  large  number  of  the 
bar  of  Aberdeen  were  engaged  in  defending  Walton  and  the 
others  who  were  indicted.  A  great  legal  battle  was  fought. 
The  United  States  District  Attorney,  Wells,  was  assisted  in  the 
prosecution  by  H.  C.  Blackman,  H.  W.  Walter,  Van  H.  Manning, 
G.  P.  M.  Turner  and  E.  P.  Jacobson,  United  States  District 
Attorney  for  the  Southern  District  of  Mississippi.  The  con- 
stitutionality of  the  Act  was  sustained  by  Judge  Hill,  but  the 
defendants  were  released,  some  on  bond  and  some  on  their  per- 
sonal recognizance.  Walton's  counsel  were  Col.  W.  F.  Dowd, 
Col.  R.  O.  Reynolds,  Capt.  E.  O.  Sykes  and  Capt.  Robert  E. 
Houston,  and  Capt.  J.  D.  McClusky.  The  result  was  that  Wal- 
ton and  the  others  came  home  heroes  and  were  welcomed  with 
great  rejoicings  by  the  town  and  country,  and  no  further  prose- 
cutions were  had  under  that  Act. 8  This  was  not  the  end,  how- 
ever, of  the  Ku  Klux  agitation.  A  subcommittee  of  the  United 
States  Senate  composed  of  Gov.  Geo.  S.  Boutwell  of  Massachu- 
setts, Senator  Angus  Cameron  of  Wisconsin,  Senator  McMillon, 
Senator  McDonald  and  Thomas  F.  Bayard  of  Delaware,  began 
its  investigations  at  Macon,  November  9,  1871,  and  held  other 
sittings,  notably  at  Jackson  and  Aberdeen.  During  the  sittings 
at  Aberdeen  Senator  Bayard  was  considered  the  friend  of  the 

8  It  was  at  the  trial  of  these  Ku  Klux  cases  that  the  conduct  of  one  of 
the  government  witnesses  provoked  the  famous  "court  scene"  in  which 
L.  Q.  C.  Lamar  figured  so  conspicuously. 


68  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

white  people  of  the  State  of  Mississippi,  as  he  in  truth  was,  and  the 
other  two  members  there  present  were  put  down  as  being  more  or 
less  inimical  to  their  interests  and  favorable  to  negro  rule.  It  must 
be  remembered  that  the  possession  of  the  right  of  franchise  by 
the  negro  at  that  time  was  an  untried  experiment  and  unre- 
stricted suffrage  by  them  was  advocated  by  leaders  in  the 
North,  chief  among  whom  were  Stevens  and  Sumner.  Senator 
Bayard  was  entertained  while  the  committee  sat  in  Aberdeen 
at  the  home  of  Capt.  Thomas  B.  Sykes,  and  many  interesting 
stories  are  told  of  his  gracious  manners,  distinguished  bearing, 
and  his  bold  championship  of  what  he  believed  to  be  right  and 
his  denunciation  of  what  he  believed  to  be  wrong.  He  was 
in  the  minority  on  the  committee,  and  it  is  said  that  more  than 
once  things  and  measures  were  attempted  which  he  denounced 
so  vigorously  and  sometimes  so  profanely  that  the  committee 
would  yield  to  his  demands.  That  he  rendered  an  invaluable 
service  on  that  occasion  is  not  doubted  at  this  time.  The  tes- 
timony taken  by  the  committee  and  printed  by  the  Govern- 
ment is  still  intensely  interesting  and  will  serve  as  a  foundation 
for  the  comment  of  future  historians. 

The  aggravations  of  ignorance  and  extravagance  and  the 
perplexing  annoyances  of  the  negro  office  holder  continued 
steadily  on.  The  Ku  Klux  Klan  may  have  become  less  promi- 
nent because  of  the  fear  of  prosecutions,  but  its  spirit  and  meth- 
ods continued.  An  overt  act  it  was  dangerous  to  commit,  both 
because  of  the  presence  of  the  Federal  soldiery  and  because  of 
the  stringent  Federal  and  State  statutes  enacted,  and  the  per- 
sistent and  steady  enforcement  of  the  thirteenth,  fourteenth  and 
fifteenth  amendments  to  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States. 
It  seems  that  the  people  realizing  that  they  were  powerless  to 
protect  themselves  in  their  rights  and  liberties  in  the  face  of  a 
tremendous  majority  of  qualified  negro  voters,  determined  by 
secret  meetings  to  make  the  life  of  all  the  official  representatives 
of  the  then  civil  government  as  unpleasant  as  possible  and  to 
terrify  and  intimidate  the  colored  voters  to  the  limit  of  endur- 
ance. To  recount  the  harassing  measures  used  which  were 
generally  secret,  sometimes  breaking  out  into  open  rupture  and 
sometimes  taking  the  shape  of  burlesque,  would  be  an  endless 
task.  Among  the  leaders  who  determined  to  make  the  life  of 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftwich.  69 

the  radicals  and  negroes  unbearable  were  a  number  of  promi- 
nent and  promising  young  men  of  Aberdeen  and  the  surround- 
ing country,  most  of  whom  having  lately  come  home  from  the 
war,  had  smelt  powder,  were  brave  and  fearless,  and  were  thor- 
oughly determined  that,  come  what  might,  they  would  never 
surrender  to  any  such  government  as  was  then  ruling  the  coun- 
try. It  would  be  impossible  to  name  all  of  these,  but  among 
them  were  R.  C.  Becket,  J.  W.  Howard,  F.  G.  Barry,  E.  O. 
Sykes,  S.  A.  Jonas,  John  D.  McClusky,  A.  H.  Whitfield,  W.  H. 
Clopton,  W.  D.  Walton,  A.  E.  Dairy mple,  R.  E.  Houston, 
N.  W.  Hatch,  James  Dillingham,  Plummer  Willis,  and  many 
more  too  numerous  to  mention.  These  young  men  represented 
the  white  people  and  property  rights  of  their  country  much  in 
the  same  way  that  the  Cossacks  represent  the  governing  power 
of  Russia  to-day.  A  large  and  weightier  class  of  well  known 
and  older  men  did  not  engage  in  the  nightly  escapades  of  these 
younger  ones;  they  did  not  advise  the  excesses  committed,  but 
felt  that  something  had  to  be  done  to  rid  the  country  of  the  negro 
and  the  carpet  bagger,  and  in  lieu  of  some  better  device,  they 
submitted  to  what  was  happening,  no  doubt,  hoping,  as  was 
once  said  by  Lord  Milton,  that  "Whatever  is,  is  right."  Among 
these  older  men  were  Judge  L.  E.  Houston,  Col.  R.  O.  Reynolds, 
A.  J.  Sykes,  J.  M.  Trice,  W.  W.  Troup,  B.  R.  Howard,  W.  G. 
Evans,  and  W.  H.  Clopton,  Sr.,  Col.  L.  Willis  and  many  others. 
The  writer  is  told  by  many  of  these  young  Cossacks,  who  are 
now  grown  older,  that  these  old  men  were  constantly  warning 
them  against  their  excesses,  but  just  as  often  defending  them 
when  overtaken.  Things  grew  no  better,  but  worse,  until 
January,  1874,  when  the  famous  taxpayers'  convention  met  at 
Jackson  to  devise  ways  and  means  to  better  their  condition 
and  to  save  the  property  of  the  State  from  absolute  confiscation , 
thus  ultimately  to  preserve  their  civilization  from  utter  extinc- 
tion and  ruin.  The  taxes  reported  delinquent  from  Monroe 
County  are  shown  by  the  minutes  of  the  Board  of  Supervisors 
to  have  been  for  the  fiscal  year  of  1874,  $35,992.70.  A  very 
large  percentage  of  the  lands  of  the  county  were  sold  for  taxes 
on  the  first  Monday  of  January,  1875  and  1876.  The  tax- 
payers' convention  alluded  to  infused  new  hope  into  the  people. 
The  Democratic  Executive  Committee  of  the  State  awoke  to 


70  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

renewed  energies.  J.  Z.  George  was  made  chairman.  County 
organizations  of  like  spirit  and  character  began  work  throughout 
the  State.  The  chairman  of  the  Executive  Committee  of  Mon- 
roe County  for  the  year  was  Col.  John  M.  Moore  and  the  sec- 
retary was  E.  0.  Sykes.  This  committee,  backed  largely  by 
the  white  people,  determined  to  overthrow  the  government 
then  in  existence  or  to  perish  in  the  attempt.  The  Republi- 
cans of  the  county  were  led  by  J.  W.  Lee,  candidate  for  sheriff, 
and  Geo.  C.  Coleman,  candidate  for  treasurer.  The  Democrats 
nominated  J.  W.  Howard  for  sheriff,  H.  S.  Gilleylen  for  chan- 
cery clerk,  Andrew  Wood  for  circuit  clerk,  and  Col.  W.  W. 
Troup,  J.  M.  Trice,  and  Major  A.  J.  Sykes  for  representatives 
in  the  Legislature,  and  Col.  R.  O.  Reynolds  for  senator.  Col. 
Reynolds  was  a  distinguished  lawyer  and  orator.  The  three 
distinguished  gentlemen  named  for  representatives  were 
wealthy  planters  and  citizens  who  in  anything  but  a  crisis 
would  have  been  very  far  from  seeking  or  holding  office  at  the 
sacrifice  of  their  large  business  interests  and  of  their  inclinations. 
But  the  exigency  was  on  hand  which  demanded  the  time, 
money,  and  even  the  life,  if  necessary,  of  every  good  citizen, 
and  in  selecting  this  ticket,  it  was  not  a  question  of  who  wanted 
office,  but  who  was  needed  and  who  could  best  serve  the  people 
in  getting  rid  of  the  negro  and  the  carpet  bagger,  frequently 
led  by  misguided  and  deluded  home  people.  The  County  Exec- 
utive Committee  taxed  each  of  the  candidates  for  Representa- 
tive one  thousand  dollars  ($1,000)  for  campaign  expenses, 
which  sum  was  cheerfully  paid. 

V.    THE    ELECTION    OF     1875    AND    THE    CAMPAIGN    PRECEDING    IT. 

During  the  year  1874  public  sentiment  in  the  North  began  to 
change  materially,  and  became  much  more  sympathetic  toward 
Southern  white  people  and  far  more  unfriendly  to  the  carpet 
bag  rule  that  was  subjecting  all  the  gulf  States  to  humiliation. 
The  use  of  the  soldiery  by  the  civil  power  in  Louisiana  that  year 
to  oust  the  Governor  elected  by  the  people  and  to  install  another 
at  the  point  of  the  bayonet,  and  many  other  events  that  cre- 
ated less  comment  at  the  time,  turned  the  tide  of  public  senti- 
ment. An  open  letter  was  written  to  the  Southern  people  by 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Lejtwich.  71 

their  leading  Representatives  in  Congress  in  1874,  counseling 
moderation,  patience,  determination  and  reliance  on  the  good 
will  and  the  conservative  sentiment  of  the  North,  and  prophe- 
sying that  light  and  relief  would  come  to  them  by  some  means 
yet  to  be  discovered.  As  the  election  to  be  held  on  the  Tuesday 
after  the  first  Monday  of  November,  1875,  tnat  being  the  3d  of 
November  that  year,  approached,  interest  became  more  and 
more  intense  in  the  importance  of  the  event  and  the  determina- 
tion of  the  white  people  to  again  resume  the  control  of  their 
own  government  became  more  widespread  and  universal. 
Preparations  for  the  campaign  began  certainly  not  later  than 
the  beginning  of  the  year  1875,  and  the  campaign  was  organ- 
ized under  the  name  of  Democracy.  But  beyond  Democracy 
and  beyond  all  else,  was  the  overthrow  of  the  carpet  bagger,  of 
the  negro  and  of  the  scalawag.  Politics  has  ever  used  derisive 
names,  each  adversary  inventing  epithets  for  his  opponent. 
Mississippi  adopted  for  Republicans  from  other  States  the 
term  "carpet  bagger,"  which  was  said  to  have  been  first  used 
by  Chas.  A.  Dana  in  the  New  York  Sun;  for  the  white  Repub- 
licans, Mississippians  by  birth,  was  invented  the  opprobrious 
name  "scalawag."  The  third  name  of  the  trilogy  was  "nigger." 
In  the  first  election  for  Governor  between  Dent  and  Alcorn 
the  Democrats  supported  Dent,  -the  less  offensive  Republican 
as  they  thought.  So  the  white  people  would  have  marshalled 
their  forces  under  any  name  under  heaven  which  would  have 
offered  the  most  sure  relief,  but  as  Democracy  had  survived 
all  the  changes  of  all  the  trying  periods  of  the  nation's  history, 
and  as  most  of  the  white  people  were  in  harmony  with  its  real 
tenets,  and  as  it  was  still  the  watchword  of  that  party,  which 
was  supposed  to  guard  the  peoples'  rights,  the  white  people 
boldly  organized  themselves  under  the  title  of  the  Democratic 
party.  In  the  work  which  began  and  ended  so  auspiciously, 
Monroe  County  was  a  leader  and  helped  set  the  pace  for  many 
other  counties  in  the  State.  It  is  claimed  that  many  of  the 
plans  of  organization  and  many  of  the  methods  of  confusing 
the  adversary  were  invented  and  first  put  into  successful  use 
by  the  capable  leaders  who  inaugurated  the  campaign  in  this 
county.  The  Democratic  Executive  Committee  was  organ- 
ized, consisting  of  twenty-five  members.  This  committee 


72  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

elected  a  central  committee  composed  of  five  members,  as  fol- 
lows: Dr.  John  M.  Moore,  chairman;  E.  O.  Sykes,  secretary; 
S.  A.  Jonas,  Colonel  Redwood  and  W.  D.  Hooper.  This  com- 
mittee of  five  worked  in  secret  and  some  of  them  gave  their 
entire  time  to  the  campaign  for  many  months  preceding  the 
election.  They  had  in  the  treasury  to  start  with  about  $5,000- 
The  military  company  was  thoroughly  organized  and  drilled. 
This  was  first  inspired  perhaps  by  Governor  Alcorn's  militia, 
largely  composed  of  negro  troops  and  commanded  frequently 
by  negro  officers.  One  of  these  negro  companies  was  in  active 
service  in  Monroe  County,  commanded  by  Arthur  Brooks, 
once  a  negro  representative  in  the  Legislature.9  This  military 
company  gave  much  ground  for  apprehension.  The  captain 
of  this  company  at  Aberdeen  during  the  active  campaign  was 
E.  O.  Sykes,  who  succeeded  General  Gholson,  and  his  lieuten- 
ants were  Geo.  C.  Paine  and  John  C.  Wicks.  The  gunner  who 
handled  the  artillery  branch  of  the  company  was  Captain  George 
W.  Elkin.  In  organizing  this  company  the  importance  of 
noise  and  thunder  was  not  underrated,  and  Major  S.  A.  Jonas 
was  accordingly  sent  to  Mobile,  where  he  purchased  of  the  city 
authorities  a  twenty -four-pound  cannon,  which  was  brought  to 
Aberdeen,  mounted  and  put  into  service.  Recognizing  the 
importance  of  a  bold,  unflinching  front,  this  committee  inaugu- 
rated the  sentiment  that  they  were  going  to  carry  the  election, 
if  by  fair  means,  well;  but  foul  or  fair,  they  were  going  to  carry 
the  election.  They  organized  cavalcades  of  horsemen  which, 
with  their  swift  and  brusk  movements,  added  enthusiasm  to 
every  enterprise.  In  the  background  was  a  large  company  of 
old  and  wealthy  men  who  would  have  been  more  or  less  distin- 
guished in  any  like  number  of  Anglo-Saxons  in  the  world.  I 
have  already  mentioned  some  of  them.  These  were  daily  con- 
sulted by  the  leaders  of  the  young  men  and  the  latter  were  as 
often  warned  against  excess  and  imprudence.  Capt.  E.  O. 
Sykes,  who  had  charge  of  the  campaign  in  its  military  aspects, 
that  year,  tells  of  frequent  interviews  with  Bishop  Robert 
Paine,  an  old  and  distinguished  minister  living  in  Aberdeen. 
He  warned  Sykes  constantly  on  the  lines  indicated,  but  his 

'This  negro  company  was  said  to  have  been  furnished  guns  by  Gev. 
Ames  at  the  state's  expense.  Capt.  Sykes'  company  was  armed  with 
Enfield  rifles  furnished  at  their  own  expense. 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftwich.  73 

invariable  refrain  was,  "You  must  carry  this  election,  you  must 
carry  this  election ;  if  you  do  not  we  are  lost."  And  the  serious- 
ness of  the  problem  could  not  be  better  illustrated  than  by  the 
interposition  of  this  serene  old  minister  in  the  crisis. 

It  must  not  be  forgotten  that  the  Republican  organization 
was  very  complete  and  was  led  by  bold  and  strong  men.  The 
great  mass  of  negroes  were  bold  and  many  of  them  made  poli- 
tics their  sole  business.  Much  of  the  time  of  the  Democrats 
was  put  in  watching  their  adversary,  in  reconnoitering,  as  a 
soldier  would  say.  The  public  discussions  were  not  inaugu- 
rated by  the  Democrats,  but  by  the  Republicans.  Their  lead- 
ing speakers  were  Capt.  Lee,  Colonel  Coleman  and  W.  H.  Hodges, 
all  native  Southern  men  and  Confederate  soldiers.  They  pub- 
lished dates  for  series  of  meetings  to  be  held  for  public  speakings 
throughout  the  county  during  the  summer,  to  which  meetings 
all  were  invited,  but  no  offer  was  made  for  a  division  of  time 
with  the  Democrats.  This  announcement  of  the  Republicans 
was  immediately  seized  hold  by  the  Democratic  committee  as 
the  time  and  occasion  to  do  their  work.  So  they  made  all 
arrangements,  all  of  which  were  of  course  secret,  for  having 
speakers  at  the  first  appointment  at  Cotton  Gin,  and  demanding 
there  a  division  of  the  time.  When  the  day  arrived  the  artillery, 
under  command  of  Captain  Elkin,  went  to  Cotton  Gin  on  the 
west  side  of  the  river,  while  the  speakers,  two  of  whom  were 
E.  O.  Sykes  and  A.  H.  Whitfield,  now  Chief  Justice  of  Missis- 
sippi, drove  through  to  the  east  side.  Cotton  Gin,  which  has 
been  since  abandoned  as  a  town,  was  then  on  the  dividing  line 
between  the  white  and  the  black  belt.  There  were  great  num- 
bers of  negroes  present  on  this  occasion,  and  the  division  of 
time  was  finally  reluctantly  granted  by  the  Republican  speakers. 
While  Captain  Sykes  was  making  his  reply,  the  cannon  opened 
fire  and  created  no  little  consternation  and  confusion  among 
the  negroes,  who  ran  pell  mell  out  of  the  house.  The  gentleman 
speaking  for  the  Republican  cause  in  the  testimony  before  the 
Boutwell  committee  claimed  that  there  was  great  confusion 
and  a  disposition  on  the  part  of  the  white  Democrats  to  treat 
contemptuously  the  Republican  speakers,  to  interrupt  and 
insult  them.  The  Democrats,  however,  in  their  evidence,  dis- 
claimed any  such  intention,  but  stated  that  any  disorders  that 


74  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

arose  grew  out  of  the  occasion,  many  being  uncontrollable  in 
such  an  atmosphere,  and  meant  no  disrespect.  The  speaking 
the  next  day  was  at  Smithville,  where  the  Democrats  grew 
bolder,  and  it  was  claimed  by  some  of  the  Republicans  that 
Elkin  would  fire  into  the  tree  tops  with  his  cannon  and  cut  the 
limbs  off  and  disturb  those  who  were  discussing  the  political 
issues.  It  was  also  claimed  that  while  the  Republican  speakers 
were  in  the  middle  of  their  addresses  Elkin  would  fire  off  his 
cannon.  As  everything  was  running  on  the  military  order,  it 
is  not  disputed  now  that  every  feature  of  this  campaign  was 
arranged  to  discourage,  to  confuse,  and  to  intimidate  in  all 
means  that  could  be  tolerated  the  Republican  speaker  and 
voter.  At  Quincy,  the  third  day,  Colonel  Coleman  claimed 
to  have  been  again  insulted,  and  considerable  disturbance  arose, 
which,  however,  was  pretty  thoroughly  controlled  by  the  cool- 
headed  gentlemen  in  charge  of  the  Democrats.  The  last  public 
speaking  on  this  round  was  had  at  Sulphur  Springs,  a  place 
in  the  fork  of  the  Buttahatchie  and  Tombigbee  Rivers,  in  a 
thickly  settled  negro  community,  near  the  present  home  of 
Col.  Lafayette  Willis.  It  must  not  be  forgotten  that  the  negroes 
were  bold  enough  in  those  days  to  cause  great  fears  of  conflict. 
They  were  out  at  Sulphur  Springs  in  force,  arrayed  in  military 
paraphernalia  and  were  in  command  of  an  officer  with  drums 
to  march  by.  A  very  disturbing  element  was  a  kettle  drum  in 
the  hands  of  one  of  the  negroes.  The  officers  of  the  military 
command  and  the  drummer  sat  on  the  front  seat  next  to  the 
speakers,  and  whenever  a  Republican  speaker  would  make  as  he 
thought  a  strong  point,  the  drummer  would  lead  the  applause 
by  a  loud  beating  of  his  drum.  The  Democrats  had  pressed 
into  service  a  speaker  by  the  name  of  Beck,  a  Georgia  drummer, 
and  were  very  anxious  for  the  negroes  to  hear  Beck,  and  the 
word  got  abroad  that  they  intended  to  leave  as  soon  as  the 
Republican  speakers  were  through.  It  was  thought  that  Beck 
would  have  a  strong  influence  over  them.  Plummer  Willis 
and  his  brother,  W.  H.  Walton,  Young  Quarles  and  many  others 
of  like  type  of  young  men,  some  of  whom  had  lately  been  Con- 
federate soldiers,  were  determined  to  control  the  meeting. 
Some  of  the  negroes  before  the  Boutwell  committee  complained 
that  these  young  men  would  stand  in  the  aisles  during  the  speak- 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftwich.  75 

-i* 

ing  and  that  one  was  seen  to  change  a  large  pistol  from  one  inside 
coat  pocket  to  another.  This  charge  was  especially  made 
against  Plummer  Willis,  but  he  denies  it,  and  he  is  a  truthful 
man.  He  admits,  however,  that  he  was  armed  like  all  others 
present.  Willis,  after  remonstrating  with  the  drummer  about 
the  offensive  use  of  his  drum  during  the  speaking,  and  to  no 
effect,  used  his  pistol  over  the  negro's  head.  It  was  charged 
that  Walton  and  others  did  the  same  thing.  The  writer  has 
interviewed  some  of  these  gentlemen  about  this,  and  they  claim 
that  when  the  Republicans  closed  their  arguments  a  sign  was 
passed  around  among  the  negroes,  indicating  that  they  should 
leave.  The  Democrats  determined  that  they  should  not  leave 
and  should  hear  their  speakers,  and  so  closed  the  doors.  They 
claim  that  they  struck  some  of  the  negroes  with  their  pistols 
and  kept  them  from  jumping  out  of  the  windows.  The  Demo- 
crats seized  and  cut  up  the  drums,  but  a  collection  was  taken 
to  pay  for  them  before  they  left  the  ground.  At  any  rate,  the 
meeting  at  Sulphur  Springs  broke  up  in  what  the  negroes  called 
at  that  time  a  "riot." 

The  next  speaking  was  advertised  to  take  place  at  Paine's 
Chapel  on  the  next  day,  in  the  very  heart  of  the  prairie  and  in 
the  black  belt.  Great  crowds  of  Democrats  from  the  East  side, 
including  about  seventy-five  on  horses  who  were  at  Sulphur 
Springs,  an  improvised  military  company  commanded  by  James 
Dillingham  came  into  Aberdeen,  during  the  night  and  many 
started  in  force  to  Paine's  Chapel  the  next  day  when  they  met 
many  coming  away  who  announced  that  the  speaking  had  been 
called  off.  The  Republicans  saw  from  the  Sulphur  Springs 
experience  that  there  was  great  danger  of  serious  collision  and 
that  further  prosecution  of  a  joint  canvass  was  unwise.  The 
speaking  did  not  discontinue,  however.  Both  the  Democrats 
and  the  Republicans  were  making  incursions  into  various  parts 
nightly  and  haranguing  the  voters.  The  Democrats  sent  able 
speakers  who  exhausted  themselves  talking  to  the  negro  voters. 
Many  incidents,  amusing  and  laughable,  occurred  in  this  cam- 
paign. 

A  move  had  been  agitated  during  the  fall  of  1875  to  refuse 
to  rent  to  one-third  of  the  negro  hands,  and  it  seems  to  have 
been  intended  to  turn  off  the  most  offensive  Republicans.  A 


76  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

large  planter,  and  a  Republican  at  that,  in  the  northern  part 
of  the  county  of  Monroe,  Col.  Overton  Harris,  wrote  to  the  chair- 
man of  the  Executive  Committee  that  the  negroes  were  stirred 
up  over  the  resolution  of  the  Democrats  not  to  rent  to  them. 
Harris  favored  the  Democrats  in  that  election  and  wrote  the 
committee  to  send  him  a  conservative  speaker.  General 
Reuben  Davis,  Col.  W.  W.  Troup  and  N.  W.  Hatch  went  out  to 
Blackwell's  Chapel  to  speak  at  Colonel  Harris'  invitation.  A 
large  audience  of  negroes  was  there,  and  General  Davis  was  the 
principal  speaker.  Mr.  Hatch  is  able  to  remember  some  por- 
tions of  Davis'  speech,  and  it  may  interest  the  future  historian 
to  have  a  sample  of  the  lurid  oratory  of  those  days.  General 
Davis  spoke  in  part  as  follows: 

"Colored  men  and  fellow-citizens,  the  Democratic  Executive  Com- 
mittee of  Monroe  County  has  sent  me  here  to  make  a  conservative  speech. 
When  I  left  my  home,  my  wife  asked  me  where  I  was  going,  and  I  told 
her  'I  was  going  to  fight  the  battles  of  my  country.  I  was  going  to  the 
fifth  beat  to  make  a  talk  to  the  voters.'  I  understand  the  State  Demo- 
cratic Executive  Committee  has  recommended  to  the  planters  to  turn 
off  one-third  of  the  laborers,  unless  they  vote  the  Democratic  ticket. 
I  understand  you  to  say  you  don't  give  a  d — m  whether  they  turn  you 
off  or  not,  that  you  will  never  vote  the  Democratic  ticket.  I  under- 
stand you  to  say  you  will  go  out  and  get  your  drinking  water  out  of 
the  creeks  and  branches.  Who  do  the  creeks  and  branches  belong  to? 
Colored  men?  Don't  they  belong  to  the  white  people?  I  understand 
you  to  say  you  will  go  out  and  live  under  the  trees.  Who  do  the  trees 
belong  to?  Colored  men?  Don't  the  trees  belong  to  the  white  people? 
No,  colored  men,  the  only  way  you  can  rid  yourselves  of  the  white  people 
is  to  catch  yourselves  by  the  seats  of  your  pants  and  lift  yourselves  200 
yards  above  the  tops  of  the  trees,  d — m  you!  Who  are  your  friends, 
colored  men?  The  white  people  of  the  South  are  the  best  friends  you 
ever  had.  The  d — m  Yankees  took  their  ships  and  brought  your  ances- 
tors to  this  country  and  sold  them  to  the  Southern  people.  And  when 
the  Southern  people  bought  your  ancestors,  they  fought  and  ate  one 
another  like  wild  animals.  When  your  ancestors  were  found  in  the 
wilds  of  Africa,  they  were  hanging  from  the  limbs  of  the  trees  like 
baboons,  and  throwing  cocoanuts  at  one  another.  Colored  men,  do  you 
think  the  white  people  are  a  set  of  fools  to  feed  and  clothe  you  and  then 
let  you  vote  for  the  d — m  carpet  bagger?" 

To  this  question  a  negro  in  the  audience,  seeing  the  great  agita- 
tion of  General  Davis,  rose  from  his  seat  and  answering  as  to 
whether  or  not  they  thought  General  Davis  and  the  white  people 
were  fools,  said  in  a  loud  voice,  "Yessir." 

General  Davis  reached  into  his  grip  for  his  pistol,  but  Robert 
Gordon,  who  knew  the  negro,  stopped  Davis  and  told  him  not 
to  hurt  him,  that  he  was  deaf  and  wanted  to  please  the  speaker 
and  then  he  began  again: 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftunch.  77 

"My  colored  friends,  you  are  ruining  the  white  people  of  the  South, 
and  yourselves  as  well,  by  running  after  the  carpet  bagger  and  voting 
the  Republican  ticket.  If  it  goes  much  further,  colored  men,  I  am  for 
war  and  blood,  war  to  the  knife,  and  the  knife  to  the  hilt." 

At  this  challenge,  a  bold  negro  rose  to  his  feet  in  the  audience 
and  responded,  "I  am,  too,  General  Davis." 

This  was  more  than  General  Davis  could  stand ;  he  went  for 
•  his  pistol  again  and  made  for  the  negro,  who  jumped  out  at  the 
window,  and  the  remaining  colored  portion  of  the  audience  did 
likewise.  Col.  Overton  Harris  complained  bitterly  at  the  com- 
mittee for  not  sending  him  a  conservative  speaker  as  he  requested. 
The  oratory  of  General  Davis  was  displayed  in  many  localities 
in  that  campaign  and  it  was  a  little  more  lurid  than  most  others. 
General  Davis'  theory  was  that  the  best  plan  was  not  to  per- 
suade but  to  control  and  alarm  the  colored  voter  by  threats 
of  force.  Whether  he  was  right  or  not  is  a  question  to  be  left 
to  the  historian.  Henry  Kernaghan  in  his  testimony  before 
the  Boutwell  committee,  describing  the  events  in  Rankin 
County,  said  "there  was  horror  and  the  atmosphere  was  loaded 
with  it,  that  there  was  not  a  more  demoralized  set  of  beings  in 
the  world  than  the  negroes  of  that  county." l  The  evidence  now 
is  that  Kernaghan  gave  a  true  picture  of  the  campaign  of  that 
year  which  culminated  in  the  success  of  the  white  people  on 
November  the  third  following.  A  colored  speaker  in  that  cam- 
paign for  the  Democrats  was  Jeff  Walker,  whom  the  committee 
had  employed  to  make  speeches.  A  great  meeting  of  the 
negroes  was  being  addressed  by  Walker  at  Prairie  Station. 
Colonel  Reynolds  also  spoke  on  that  occasion.  Jeff  Walker  in 
his  speech  was  telling  the  negroes  that  the  Democrats  would 
enact  good  laws,  was  telling  them  of  the  advantages  of  making 
hog  stealing  a  penitentiary  offense.  A  negro  at  once  stood  up 
in  the  audience  and  retorted,  "Jeff  Walker,  youse  no  right  to 
talk.  Not  eight  months  'go  Major  Gus  Sykes  paid  out  $150  to 
keep  you  out  ub  de  pen  fur  stealin'  a  hog." 

Walker  instantly  retorted,  "Yes,  dat  is  so,  but  den  I  wuz  a 
Republican  and  it  wuz  part  of  our  'ligion  to  steal  hogs  from 
the  white  folks." 

'See  Vol.  II,  Report  of  the  Select  Committee  to  Enquire  into  the  Mis- 
sissippi Election  of  1825,  pp.  1248  and  1250. 


78  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

At  this  same  meeting  Col.  Reynolds  was  illustrating  the 
advantages  to  the  colored  man  of  having  a  white  representative 
at  Jackson,  and  told  them  if  one  of  them  was  going  to  send 
money  to  Jackson,  which  would  you  send  it  by,  Col.  Troup, 
Maj.  Gus  Sykes  or  myself,  or  Jeff  Walker,  for  instance. 

A  big  negro  at  once  replied  from  the  back  of  the  audience, 
"I  blieve  I'd  sen'  mine  by  Jeff  Walker,  Col.  Reynolds." 

Ready  as  Col.  Reynolds  was,  the  retort  puzzled  him,  until 
some  one  near  by  told  him  that  the  negro  making  it  lived  on 
the  plantation  owned  by  Mrs.  Reynolds,  his  wife.  Col.  Rey- 
nolds at  once  ordered  the  negro  to  leave  his  plantation,  that 
he  did  not  want  so  impudent  a  tenant  on  it.  The  negro  in- 
stantly replied,  "All  right,  Colonel,  de  grass-hoppers  has  already 
eat  up  everything  anyhow." 

VI.       ELECTION  DAY  AT  ABERDEEN,  NOVEMBER  3,   1875. 

The  tension  was  near  the  breaking  point  at  Aberdeen  on 
November  3,  1875,  election  day.  It  must  be  remembered  that 
the  campaign  was  a  stirring  one,  lasting  for  months.  The 
organization  of  the  Democrats  was  perfect;  there  was  no  defect 
anywhere.  Major  Jonas,  who  was  a  member  of  the  central 
committee  of  five  and  practically  directed  everything,  char- 
acterizes the  campaign  as  a  military  campaign.  Abundant 
funds  were  provided.  Of  the  County  Executive  Committee  of 
twenty-five,  five  were  in  every  beat  and  scattered  all  over  the 
county.  Orders  coming  from  the  central  committee  at  Aber- 
deen were  promptly  and  faithfully  executed.  The  plans  of 
the  campaign  were  guarded  with  military  secrecy.  The  most 
noted  and  effective  speakers  to  be  had  were  engaged.  Lamar 
spoke  to  a  great  throng  from  a  portico  of  the  county  court- 
house. Col.  Chas-.  E.  Hooker  came  after  great  importunity. 
It  is  the  striking  comment  that,  when  the  invitation  was  ex- 
tended to  him  through  Major  Jonas,  he  expressed  the  opinion 
that  it  was  useless  to  spend  time,  money,  and  energy  on  a  county 
with  such  a  negro  majority  as  Monroe.  But.  he  came  and 
returned  home  enthusiastic,  to  be  himself  elected  to  Congress. 

Monroe  seems  to  have  been  the  first  or  among  the  first  to 
inaugurate  the  use  of  the  cannon.  Campaigning  on  horseback 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Leftunch.  79 

was  also  put  in  vogue  here.  The  effect  of  hundreds  of  men 
parading  on  horseback  on  days  of  public  speaking  was  as  inspir- 
ing to  the  Democrats  as  it  was  depressing  to  the  radicals.  For 
a  more  pleasing  effect  there  was  a  local  glee  club  organized  by 
Mr.  E.  H.  Bristow,  a  member  of  the  bar,  and  Esquire  B.  C. 
Sims,  both  excellent  musicians.  The  singers  were  negroes  led 
by  Sims.  The  latter  was  elected  a  justice  of  the  peace  at  that 
election,  and  has  held  that  important  office  to  this  good  day. 
Federal  soldiers  were  still  quartered  at  Aberdeen,  and  it  was  a 
matter  of  some  concern  to  the  leaders  as  to  what  part  they  would 
take  in  the  election.  Dr.  J.  M.  Greene  and  two  others  were 
deputed  as  a  committee  to  interview  the  captain  in  command. 
That  officer  had  already  become  disgusted  with  the  work  to 
which  he  was  detailed  and  was  not  slow  to  agree  that  the  elec- 
tion might  be  relieved  of  any  military  flavor. 

The  negroes  throughout  the  county  were  alarmed  by  the 
inroads  made  in  their  own  ranks  by  the  Democrats.  The 
spectacular  and  warlike  campaign  had  intimidated  them,  as 
was  no  doubt  intended.  To  again  use  the  expressive  language 
of  Henry  Kernaghan  before  the  Boutwell  Committee,  "There 
was  terror  and  the  atmosphere  was  loaded  with  it."  An  elec- 
tion law  allowed  a  voter  to  either  vote  at  his  own  precinct  or 
at  the  county  seat.  Feeling  no  doubt  that  they  would  be  more 
secure  at  the  county  seat  where  most  of  the  leaders  were,  there 
was  a  movement  among  the  negroes  to  come  to  Aberdeen  to 
vote.  Foreseeing  danger  from  this  course,  the  Democrats  dis- 
couraged massing  the  negroes  at  one  voting  place. 2  Men  were 
detailed  at  every  precinct  to  go  to  the  homes  of  the  negroes 
and  advise  them  to  stay  away  from  the  election.  The  county 
bridge  over  the  Tombigbee  was  turned  during  the  night  before 
the  election  to  keep  the  negroes  from  the  east  side  out  of 
town.  But  many  found  a  ford  higher  up  and  crossed.  The 
way  was  open  from  the  west,  where  most  of  the  negroes  lived, 
and  they  came  in  droves. 

Capt.  E.  0.  Sykes  in  command  of  the  military  company  was 
on  hand  at  sunup  to  send  some  gentlemen  on  horses  to  Muldon 

2  A  few  days  before  the  election  a  meeting  was  had  between  the  leaders 
of  the  Democrats  and  Republicans,  when  the  latter  were  asked  to 
advise  the  negroes  to  vote  at  home  precincts,  but  no  agreement  was 
reached. 


8o  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

and  elsewhere  in  the  black  district.  They  were  about  to  leave, 
with  Judge  Locke  E.  Houston  at  their  head,  when  it  was  dis- 
covered that  the  courthouse  yard,  which  is  off  the  main  public 
street,  was  rapidly  filling  up  with  negroes  from  all  quarters  of 
the  county  who  had  evidently  left  their  homes  in  many  instances 
during  the  night.  Among  these  horsemen  were  some  Alabam- 
ians  who  had  volunteered  to  come  across  the  line  and  help 
carry  the  county  for  the  Democrats.  They  had  crossed  over 
from  the  east  before  the  bridge  was  turned.  Much  testimony 
as  to  the  intimidation  by  these  horsemen  from  Alabama  was 
given  before  the  Boutwell  Committee.  At  any  rate,  they  at 
once  desisted  from  their  ride  to  the  country  and  galloped  into 
the  street  west  of  the  county  courthouse.3  General  Reuben 
Davis  testified  before  the  Boutwell  Committee  that  apprehend- 
ing a  crisis  of  some  sort,  he  ate  his  breakfast  early,  told  his  family 
"good-bye"  and  was  at  the  courthouse  by  seven  o'clock,  several 
hundred  negroes  were  already  there  and  they  were  rapidly 
increasing  in  numbers.  The  cannon  was  soon  planted  at  the 
northwest  corner  of  the  courthouse  in  command  of  Elkin.  By 
the  time  the  voters  were  really  awake  to  the  situation,  the 
large  courthouse  yard  of  several  acres  was  a  mass  of  negro 
voters  and  the  polls  at  the  east  door  of  the  courthouse  were 
practically  inaccessible  to  the  people  from  the  town  offering  to 
vote.  So  high  had  become  the  tension  that  Captain  Lee,  the 
sheriff  and  a  candidate  for  re-election,  was  advised  by  his 
friends  to  leave  the  courthouse.4  He  was  a  fearless  man  but 
he  acceded  to  this  and  spent  most  of  the  day  at  the  jail  and  at 
the  house  of  the  jailer  near  by.  Many  negroes  had  clubs,  some 
with  feathers  in  their  hats,  and  many  were  bedecked  in  various 
forms  of  military  paraphernalia. 

The  crisis  came  when  A.  E.  Dalrymple,  of  Amory,  then  a 
lusty  young  fellow,  struck  a  negro,  who  was. in  his  way  at  the 
polling  place,  over  the  head.  The  use  of  other  sticks  followed 
rapidly  and  the  negroes  were  soon  stampeded  and  started  for 
their  home  precincts.  The  noise  of  the  cannon  and  the  swift 

3  The  position  of  these  horsemen  was  between  the  courthouse,  where 
the  negroes  were,  and  jail,  where  it  was  believed  the  guns  of  the  negro 
military  company  were. 

4  Wordy  altercation  had  already  occurred  early  that  morning  over  the 
election  between  Capt.  Lee  and  Capt.  T.  B.  Sykes. 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Lejtwich.  81 

movements  of  the  cavalry  company  accelerated  their  move- 
ments. Not  one  was  seriously  hurt,  but  the  bridge  to  the  east 
of  the  town  being  turned  many  forgot  the  ford  higher  up  and 
swam  the  river  in  their  hasty  retreat.  Most  of  them  of  course 
lost  their  opportunity  to  vote  at  the  county  seat  and  many 
did  not  vote  at  all.  Capt.  Lee  testified  before  the  Boutwell 
Committee  that  he  thought  thirteen  hundred  were  driven 
away  from  the  county  courthouse;  some  thought  a  less  num- 
ber.5 At  any  rate,  after  the  incident  just  recounted,  the  elec- 
tion at  Aberdeen  was  most  quiet  and  orderly.  The  news  of 
this  occurrence,  which  happened  early  in  the  day,  sped  rapidly 
to  other  precincts  in  the  county  and  gave  the  Democrats  re- 
newed energy.  The  horsemen  already  described  rode  rapidly 
to  other  voting  places  and  the  enthusiasm  spread.  Many 
negroes  voted  the  Democratic  ticket,  many  did  not  vote  at  all. 
I  have  searched  in  vain  at  the  office  of  the  Secretary  of  State 
for  the  tabulated  vote,  only  fragments  of  which  are  to  be  found. 
The  best  criterion  showing  the  change  of  complexion  in  the 
vote  of  the  county  I  can  find  is  in  that  for  State  Senator.  The 
candidates  for  the  State  Senate  in  1871  were  F.  H.  Little, 
Republican,  who  received  2,457  votes,  and  E.  0.  Sykes,  Dem- 
ocrat, who  received  1,905  votes.  In  1875,  R.  O.  Reynolds, 
Democratic  candidate  for  the  State  Senate,  received  2,611 
votes,  and  William  Hodges,  Republican  candidate,  1,536  votes. 
The  election  machinery  was  at  this  time  in  the  hands  of  the 
Republicans  and  there  could  have  been  no  stuffing  of  ballot 
boxes  for  the  Democrats.  The  leading  county  officers  elected 
at  this  election  were  J.  W.  Howard,  sheriff;  H.  S.  Gilleylen, 
chancery  clerk;  Andrew  Wood,  circuit  clerk;  W.  W.  Troop, 
J.  M.  Trice  and  A.  J.  Sykes,  representatives,  and  R.  O.  Rey- 
nolds, senator. 

Since  that  day  the  white  people  of  Monroe  County  have 
never  surrendered  their  control  of  its  political  affairs.  How- 
ever, they  have  constantly  remained  on  friendly  terms  with 
the  colored  population,  who  have  remained  reasonably  contented 
and  prosperous.  While  the  whites  have  increased  considerably 
in  numbers  since  then  the  negroes  have  remained  almost  numer- 

5See  Vol.  II,  Report  of  Select  Committee  to  Enquire  into  Mississippi 
Election  of  1824,  p.  1030. 


8a  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

ically  the  same.  Many  interesting  incidents  might  be  recounted 
between  the  election  of  1875  and  the  adoption  of  the  Consti- 
tution of  1890,  but  reconstruction  was  practically  complete 
when  the  vote  was  counted,  November  3,  1875. 


VII.       INCIDENTS. 

A  book  could  be  written  of  incidents,  sometimes  amusing, 
sometimes  tragic,  which  occurred  during  the  reconstruction 
period.  The  younger  portion  of  the  population  led  by  the 
recently  parolled  Confederate  soldiers,  some  of  whose  names 
have  been  mentioned,  determined  to  make  the  conditions  as 
disagreeable  for  the  Republicans  whose  plans  and  principles 
favored  negro  rule  for  the  county  as  was  possible.  While  the 
soldiers  were  quartered  here,  much  took  the  form  of  burlesque. 
Many  huge  practical  jokes  were  got  off,  many  of  which  have 
been  related  elsewhere  and  referred  to  already.  Maj.  F.  G. 
Barry  and  Judge  Herbert,  a  Republican  of  Southern  birth,  had 
a  very  serious  shooting  affray.  Barry  and  his  companions  were 
that  night  arrested  by  the  soldiers,  put  on  their  parol,  and  were 
the  next  morning  arraigned  for  trial  in  military  style.  When 
they  were  asked  their  names,  they  responded  somewhat  as 
follows:  Barry  would  say  "I  am  Frederick  Napoleon  Wellington 
Barry."  Jno.  D.  McCluskey  answered  "I  am  Oliver  Cromwell, 
McClusky."  Becket  would  answer  to  his  name,  "I  am  Richard, 
the  Lion-Hearted  Becket."  This  illustrates  the  sort  of  con- 
temptuous, yet  not  strictly  forbidden,  demeanor  the  accused 
exercised  toward  the  military  tribunal.  McClusky,  now  a  well 
known  lawyer  of  Vernon,  Alabama,  and  a  highly  respected 
citizen,  came  to  Aberdeen  from  Northern  Alabama,  near  Tus- 
cumbia,  in  1866.  He  began  life  as  a  printer,  but  after  the  war, 
donned  his  worn-out  captain's  uniform  and  set  out  for  Mexico. 
All  he  claimed  of  the  estate  of  his  ancestors  was  an  old  family 
carriage  and  a  pair  of  ponies.  He  reached  Aberdeen  on  his  way 
South  and  having  a  brother-in-law  here,  changed  his  mind,  sold 
out  his  equippage,  and  began  studying  law.  Col.  McClusky  is  of 
Scotch-Irish  extraction  and  is  a  natural  wit.  He  never  got 
excited,  and  had  abundant  courage  to  carry  out  his  plans  when 
formed.  A  frequent  resource  of  his  was  to  pretend  an  undying 


Reconstruction  in  Monroe  County. — Lefturich.  83 

friendship  for  officeholders  whose  lives  he  intended  to  make 
miserable,  often  lying  awake  at  nights  to  devise  schemes  to 
humiliate  them.  He  was  bold  enough,  however,  when  occa- 
sion demanded  it.  He  was  on  one  occasion  sent  with  some 
other  young  men  to  White's  store  in  the  northern  part  of  the 
county  to  meet  Republican  speakers.  A  division  of  time  was 
refused,  but  while  the  adversary  was  speaking,  McCluskyand 
his  friends  climbed  into  the  wagon  used  as  a  temporary  rostrum. 
When  the  Republican  speaker  was  through,  McClusky  stood  up 
with  a  pistol  in  each  hand;  he  told  the  crowd  that  he  intended 
to  speak,  and  waving  his  pistols,  he  said,  "And  maybe  these 
will  speak  also." 

McClusky  made  Mayor  Lacey  believe  that  he  was  his  only 
friend  and  Lacey  appointed  him,  in  his  absence,  mayor  pro  tern. 
He  presided  with  great  dignity  in  the  mayor's  chair  and  pro- 
nounced some  remarkable  judgments.  One  of  the  complaints 
that  he  heard  was  that  of  a  negro  who  was  working  about  some 
man's  house  in  town  and  made  a  bitter  complaint  that  his 
employer  kicked  him  for  not  making  a  fire  in  time  one  morning. 
McClusky  heard  his  complaint  with  a  great  deal  of  gravity  and 
then  turned  to  the  deputy  sheriff  and  asked  where  he  had  hung 
the  negro  he  had  executed  on  the  day  before.  The  deputy 
sheriff  saw  the  joke  and  humored  it  by  answering  McClusky, 
but  before  he  got  through  describing  where  he  erected  the 
gallows,  the  prosecutor  of  his  employer  was  gone.  McClusky 
boarded  at  the  city  hotel  kept  by  Maj.  Webb  and  his  wife 
already  referred  to.  Woodmansee,  the  chancery  clerk,  was 
also  about  the  hotel  a  great  deal,  and  especially  when  he  was 
drinking.  Maj.  Webb  tells  it  that  late  after  midnight  on  one 
occasion  he  heard  a  dreadful  noise  in  the  wagon  yard  and  went 
out  to  inquire  about  it,  and  found  that  McClusky  and  a  lot  of 
the  other  fellows  had  found  Woodmansee  drunk,  had  put  him 
in  the  wagonbed  and  nailed  him  up.  Woodmansee  had  come 
to  and  was  kicking  wildly  and  clamoring  for  his  liberty,  and 
Webb  liberated  him. 

The  negroes  had  grown  tremendously  afraid  of  firearms  and 
anything  that  sounded  like  a  gun  promptly  set  their  legs  in 
motion.  One  day  in  the  winter  McClusky  found  a  saloon  full 
of  them.  He  pulled  off  the  corner  of  a  house  one  of  the  tin 


84  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

down -pipes,  the  lower  elbow  of  which  was  stopped  up  with  ice. 
He  set  a  bunch  of  cannon  crackers  on  fire,  dropped  them  into 
this  improvised  cannon,  and  at  once  pushed  the  open  end  of 
the  down-pipe  through  a  broken  pane  in  the  window,  leveling 
it  squarely  at  the  negroes.  They  were  of  course  taken  terribly 
by  surprise  at  being  confronted  with  such  an  instrument  of 
death.  Some  ran  under  the  counters,  some  out  of  the  doors, 
and  it  is  claimed  that  some  of  them  carried  off  window  sashes 
as  they  jumped  through  the  windows.  This  joke  played  such 
havoc  that  McClusky  reloaded  his  gun,  and  finding  a  negro  ball 
in  progress  that  night,  broke  it  up  in  the  same  way.  Of  course 
he  had  to  pay  the  usual  fines  for  such  escapades,  rather  they 
seem  to  have  been  levied  but  never  paid,  but  they  were  some 
of  the  devices  employed  to  make  the  Republicans  uncomfor- 
table, and  politics  was  at  the  bottom  of  it  all.  It  seems  that 
Governor  Alcorn  heard  how  McClusky  got  into  the  good  graces 
of  Lacey,  the  mayor,  advised  him  that  a  mob  was  assembling 
to  do  him  harm  and  carried  him  to  the  M.  &  O.  railroad  station 
to  seek  safety,  and  put  him  aboard  the  train  south,  all  as  related 
in  the  article  of  Judge  Becket  heretofore  referred  to.  McClusky 
was  later  in  Oxford  while  Governor  Alcorn  was  there,  and  the 
Governor  sent  for  him  to  come  to  his  room  at  the  hotel,  and  with 
great  gravity  asked  how  it  happened  that  he  had  treated  Lacey 
the  way  it  was  reported  he  had  done.  McClusky  at  once  told 
the  Governor  that  he  understood  it  to  be  a  rule  of  commercial 
law  that  when  a  merchant  got  goods  that  he  had  not  ordered, 
that  he  could  always  return  them. 

"Now,"  he  says,  "Governor,  you  Republicans  shipped  us 
Lacey  for  mayor,  and  as  he  did  not  suit  us,  we  concluded  we 
would  just  ship  him  back  to  you." 

It  is  reported  that  the  Governor  could  no  longer  contain 
himself  and  rolled  over  on  his  bed  bursting  with  laughter.  It 
would  be  impossible  to  recount  all  the  numerous  pranks  that 
were  played  on  the  Federal  soldiers.  Sometimes  they  were 
not  altogether  pranks,  for  McClusky  and  Capt.  W.  H.  Clopton 
were  each  said  to  have  whipped  an  army  officer  belonging  to 
the  Federal  military  company  in  a  fisticuff  on  the  same  day. 


RECONSTRUCTION  AND  ITS  DESTRUCTION  IN  HINDS 

COUNTY. 

BY  W.  CALVIN  WELLS.' 

To  fully  understand  the  condition  of  Hinds  County  at  the 
time  the  Reconstruction  Acts  went  into  effect,  one  must  not  only 
know  the  condition  of  the  country  at  that  time,  but  must  have 
in  mind  the  import  of  the  reconstruction  measures.  In  order 
to  do  this  it  will  be  well  to  go  back  a  little  and  review  very  briefly 
the  history  of  the  country.  In  1861  the  memorable  election 
took  place  by  which  Abraham  Lincoln  was  chosen  President  of 
the  United  States.  The  political  status  of  the  North  gave  the 

1  W.  CALVIN  WELLS  was  born  in  Hinds  County,  Mississippi,  about  eight 
miles  south  of  Edwards,  on  January  25,  1844.  He  was  the  son  of  Thomas 
Wells  and  Cynthia  (Thompson)  Wells.  The  Wells  family  is  of  English 
extraction,  and  emigrated  first  to  Abbeville  District,  South  Carolina,  and 
about  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century  settled  in  southern  Mis- 
sissippi. The  parents  of  W.  Calvin  Wells  were  pioneers  in  Hinds  County, 
entenng  land  from  the  United  States  Government  at  the  land  office  at 
Mount  Salus,  now  Clinton,  Mississippi. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  War  between  the  States  the  subject  of  this 
sketch,  at  the  age  of  seventeen  years,  enlisted  in  the  2  ad  Mississippi 
Regiment,  Infantry,  C.  S.  A.,  and  served  with  distinction  throughout  the 
entire  period  of  hostilities. 

At  the  close  of  the  war  he  entered  the  University  of  Mississippi,  from 
which  institution  he  was  graduated  with  special  distinction  in  the  class 
of  1869,  taking  the  degree  of  Bachelor  of  Arts. 

He  was  married  in  August,  1869,  to  Miss  Mary  Eliza  Miller,  a  daughter 
of  Rev.  John  Henry  Miller  (Lt.  Col.  ist  Miss.  Cavalry,  C.  S.  A.)  and  Eliza 
(Givhan)  Miller  of  Pontotoc,  Mississippi. 

He  read  law  privately  and  was  admitted  to  the  bar  in  1871,  at  Ray- 
mond, Mississippi,  and  is  still  in  the  active  practice  of  his  profession,  now 
living  in  Jackson,  Mississippi,  where  he  moved  in  1893. 

He  was  Secretary  of  the  Executive  Campaign  Committee  of  Hinds 
County  during  the  notable  campaign  of  1875,  when  a  political  revolution 
took  place,  and  the  white  people  again  seized  the  reins  of  government. 

Mr.  Wells  is  a  ruling  elder  in  the  First  Presbyterian  Church  of  Jackson, 
Mississippi,  and  has  repeatedly  represented  his  church  in  the  higher  courts 
of  his  denomination. 

He  has  been  the  commander  of  the  Robert  A.  Smith  Camp  of  United 
Confederate  Veterans,  of  Jackson,  Mississippi,  holding  that  office  for 
many  years. 

He  has  always  stood  high  in  his  profession,  and  having  made  a  specialty 
of  the  law  of  real  property,  has  had  a  large  and  successful  practice,  espec- 
ially in  that  branch  of  the  law. 

As  a  man  he  has  been  marked  by  a  strong  love  for  his  State,  by  un- 
swerving devotion  to  duty,  and  by  a  steadfast  adherence  to  those  prin- 
ciples that  he  believed  would  make  for  the  moral,  intellectual,  and 
material  advancement  of  his  people. — EDITOR. 

(85) 


86  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

country  three  political  parties,  the  Democrats,  the  Whigs,  and 
the  Republicans.  The  Republicans  were  made  up  of  two  classes, 
called  then  Republicans  and  Black  Republicans.  The  views  of 
the  Black  Republicans  differed  from  the  Republicans  in  that 
they  had  the  most  extreme  views  on  the  subject  of  slavery. 
They  hated  the  slave  owner  with  great  intensity,  and  sought  to 
do  just  what  was  done  by  Mr.  Lincoln, — emancipate  every  slave 
and  make  him  a  citizen  with  all  the  rights  of  the  white  race. 
The  Black  Republicans  were  in  the  minority  and  were  unable 
to  get  the  Republican  platform  based  on  such  extreme  measures 
as  they  advocated.  If  that  had  been  done,  Mr.  Lincoln  could 
never  have  been  elected.  It  is  claimed  now  by  some  of  his 
friends  that  he  entertained  those  extreme  views  when  he  was 
elected. 

He  said  in  his  inaugural  address: 

"I  have  no  purpose,  directly  or  indirectly,  to  interfere  with  the  institu- 
tion of  slavery  in  the  States  where  it  exists.  I  believe  I  have  no  lawful 
right  to  do  so,  and  I  have  no  inclination  to  do  so." 

The  Southern  people  did  not  believe  he  was  sincere  in  this, 
but  believed  that  the  policies  of  his  administration  would  tend 
to  the  emancipation  of  the  slaves,  and  that  when  opportunity 
arrived,  he  would  override  all  law  and  the  constitution,  and 
emancipate  the  slaves.  Indeed,  the  biographer  of  Henry  Ward 
Beecher  tells  us  that  Mr.  Lincoln  promised  him  that  as  soon  as 
public  sentiment  would  sustain  him,  he  would  issue  an  emanci- 
pation proclamation.  And  we  know  that  after  he  became 
President,  Mr.  Beecher  visited  him  frequently,  urging  him  to 
issue  the  proclamation. 

However  that  may  be,  the  Black  Republicans  continued  to 
grow  in  influence  and  power,  and  the  result  was  finally  consum- 
mated in  what  is  known  as  the  Reconstruction  Measures.  On 
March  2,  1867,  the  reconstruction  laws  were  passed  and  immedi- 
ately went  into  effect. 

A  brief  retrospect  of  Mississippi  and  of  Hinds  County  from  the 
time  of  the  surrender  of  the  Confederate  forces  down  to  the 
time  of  the  passage  of  these  acts  will  help  the  reader  to  under- 
stand the  condition  of  things  and  the  effects  of  reconstruction 
on  this  county. 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  87 

When  the  war  closed  Mississippi  had  a  government  which  was 
in  operation  in  all  of  its  departments,  save  where  it  was  inter- 
fered with  by  the  invading  armies  of  the  United  States.  Only 
a  part  of  the  State  was  held  by  those  armies  and  the  remainder 
of  it  had  its  officials  as  before  the  war.  The  same^laws  were  in 
force  that  had  existed  prior  to  the  war,  with  the  exception  of 
those  which  had  been  changed  to  meet  the  wants  of  the  State 
in  its  relation  to  the  Confederate  Government  and  its  military 
needs.  Charles  Clark,  the  Governor  of  the  State,  called  together 
the  Legislature  immediately  after  the  surrender  of  the  Confed- 
erate armies,.  No  sooner  had  it  organized  and  gotten  to  work  than 
orders  came  from  Washington  that  it  should  disperse.  Governor 
Clark  was  arrested  in  his  office  in  the  Capitol  by  the  United 
States  forces  under  Canby,  and  was  carried  away  to  prison. 

It  had  been  contended  by  Mr.  Lincoln  all  along  that  the  war 
was  not  one  of  conquest,  that  the  States  could  not  secede,  and 
that  they  were  all  the  time  in  the  Union  and  a  part  of  it.  But 
when  the  conquest  was  made  and  the  people  of  the  South  had 
laid  down  their  arms,  the  fact  that  they  had  seceded  was  ad- 
mitted. W.  L.  Sharkey,  who  was  appointed  Provisional  Gov- 
ernor by  President  Andrew  Johnson,  on  the  i3th  of  June,  1865, 
proceeded  to  get  the  affairs  into  running  order.  He  had  an 
election  for  all  State  and  county  officers  on  the  2oth  of  October, 
1865.  At  that  time  the  following  persons  were  elected  for  Hinds 
County : 

R.  N.  Hall,  Probate  Judge. 

W.  T.  Ratliff,  Probate  Clerk. 

W.  O.  Chapman,  Circuit  Clerk. 

S.  B.  Thomas,  Sheriff. 

H.  S.  Pond,  Treasurer. 

A.  J.  Chapman,  Assessor. 

P.  M.  Alston,  Ranger. 

E.  B.  Lamons,  Coroner. 

T.  G.  Dabney,  Surveyor. 

With  the  exception  of  a  few,  who  were  too  old,  these  were  all 
ex-Confederate  soldiers,  and  without  an  exception  they  were  all 
of  them  splendid  citizens.  Most  of  them  had  been  born  and 
reared  in  the  county.  The  fact  that  these  men  had  all  been  in 
the  Confederate  service  chafed  the  Northern  people,  and  was 


88  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

used  by  the  Black  Republicans  in  their  efforts  to  get  the  recon- 
struction laws  passed.  At  that  election,  the  prestige  of  being  a 
Confederate  caused  nearly  every  State  office  to  be  filled  by  men 
of  that  class.  Andrew  Johnson  was  President,  and  because  he 
was  a  Southern  man  and  had  taken  sides  with  the  North,  he 
was  intensely  hated  by  the  South.  His  recommendations  made 
through  Governor  Sharkey  were  unheeded,  as  neither  the  State 
convention  nor  the  Legislature  would  listen  to  his  advice.  I 
refer  to  these  things  here  to  show  that  our  own  conduct  helped 
to  bring  on  us  the  reconstruction  laws  as  they  were  subsequently 
passed.  This  also  helped  the  passage  of  the  three  reconstruction 
amendments  to  the  Constitution. 

On  the  2d  of  March,  1867,  the  reconstruction  laws  passed 
Congress.  They  placed  the  whole  of  the  South  under  military 
rule,  swept  out  of  office  all  who  could  not  take  the  Ironclad  Oath, 
and  placed  in  office  the  carpetbagger,  the  negro  and  the  scalawag. 

Of  the  officers  who  were  elected  in  Hinds  County,  as  herein- 
before narrated — when  the  reconstruction  laws  became  effective 
in  Mississippi — the  following  declined  to  take  the  ironclad  oath 
and  were  driven  from  office,  others  being  appointed  instead  by 
general  order  of  the  commander  of  the  district: 

R.  N.  Hall,  Probate  Judge,  resigned  and  A.  L.  Dabney  was 
appointed  in  his  stead,  on  September  15,  1867.  W.  O.  Chap- 
man, Circuit  Clerk,  was  removed  and  L.  A.  Lindsey  appointed 
in  his  stead,  on  March  13,  1867,  and  in  turn  he  was  removed  and 
J.  M.  Stone  appointed  on  April  13,  1869.  Stone  was  then  re- 
moved and  N.  Hodge  appointed  in  his  stead  on  September  n, 
1869.  W.  T.  Ratliff  was  removed  and  Samuel  Donnell  appointed 
in  his  stead  on  April  3,  1869.  A.  L.  Dabney,  Probate  Judge, 
was  removed  and  E.  W.  Cabaness  appointed  in  his  stead,  April 
13,  1869.  H.  S.  Pond,  Treasurer,  was  removed  andThos.  Palmer 
appointed  in  his  stead,  May  6,  1869.  Afterwards,  J.  A.  Herron 
was  appointed  Treasurer  on  May  29,  1869.  S.  B.  Thomas, 
Sheriff,  was  removed  and  J.  L.  Lake,  Jr.,  was  appointed,  June  17, 
1869. 

It  is  well  here  to  remark  that  a  scalawag  was  a  Southern  man 
who  became  a  Republican,  and  the  carpetbagger  was  a  Northern 
man  who  came  here  to  hold  office,  some  of  them  being  imported 
for  the  purpose.  Of  the  men  named  above,  Samuel  Donnell, 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  89 

J.  L.  Lake,  Jr.,  and  N.  Hodge,  were  carpetbaggers;  E.  W. 
Cabaniss  and  Thos.  Palmer  were  denominated  scalawags,  and 
J.  M.  Stone  and  J.  A.  Herron  were,  and  still  are,  unknown  to 
the  writer. 

Of  the  supervisors  of  the  county,  then  called  members  of  the 
board  of  police,  the  following  were  elected  and  qualified,  in 
October,  1865:  N.  W.  Bankston,  T.  A.  Millon,  John  Brown, 
Hugh  Campbell,  and  Howell  Hobbs.  In  1866  R.  B.  Coorpender 
became  supervisor  in  place  of  John  Brown.  When  the  removal 
by  military  authority  came,  the  following  changes  were  made: 

L.  J.  Fathere  in  place  of  R.  B.  Coorpender,  by  special  order 
(military),  October  12,  1867. 

E.  D.  Fisher  and  Ned  Hill,  May  3,  1869. 

Chas.  Caldwell,  May  28,  1869. 

»  The  board  then  consisted  of  W.  S.  Cabell,  scalawag;  L.  J. 
Fathere,  scalawag;  E.  D.  Fisher,  carpetbagger;  Ned  Hill,  negro, 
and  Chas.  Caldwell,  negro. 

The  board  of  supervisors  are  of  more  importance  to  the  county 
than  are  any  other  officials,  since  they  provide  for  the  expenditure 
of  all  the  money  in  the  treasury,  provide  also  for  the  levy  of  all 
the  taxes,  and  the  approval  or  adjustment  of  the  tax  rolls. 
This  board,  as  then  constituted,  was  the  first  to  begin  the 
extravagant  waste  of  the  people's  money. 

It  will  thus  be  seen  that  in  the  year  1869  Hinds  County  was 
turned  over  to  the  plunderers,  by  military  authority,  for  after 
the  reconstruction  acts  went  into  effect  the  whole  South  was 
under  a  military  despotism. 

The  robbing  of  the  treasury  under  this  and  subsequent  boards 
of  supervisors,  down  to  1876,  was  fearful.  One  illustration  out 
of  hundreds  that  might  be  given  will  put  the  reader  in  possession 
of  how  things  were  managed.  The  board  of  supervisors  has,  as 
is  known,  control  of  bridge  building  and  road-working  throughout 
the  county ;  and  although  at  that  time  the  whole  board  passed 
on  questions  of  the  outlay  of  money,  each  member  had  the 
practical  control  of  everything  in  his  district.  In  1869  or  1870, 
L.  J.  Fathere  was  the  member  from  what  was  then  known  as  the 
Five  Mile  district.  In  that  were  two  important  points  for 
bridges, — one  on  the  Utica  and  Edwards  road  where  it  crosses 
Fourteen  Mile  creek,  and  the  other  on  the  lower  Raymond  and 


90  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Edwards  road  across  Baker's  creek.  These  bridges  had  been 
destroyed  during  the  war  and  had  never  been  rebuilt.  The 
board  having  passed  an  order  that  they  should  be  rebuilt,  left 
it  to  L.  J.  Fathere,  the  member  from  that  district,  to  let  out  the 
contract.  He  made  a  contract  with  his  brother  to  build  both 
of  them  of  wood, — the  one  across  Fourteen  Mile  creek  for  $5,000, 
and  the  one  across  Baker's  creek  for  $4,000.  The  contractor 
went  to  work  and  erected  both  of  the  bridges.  Before  they  were 
received  and  paid  for,  the  writer  passed  by  the  one  over  Fourteen 
Mile  creek  and  carefully  looked  at  it  and  felt  convinced  that  it 
would  in  a  short  time  fall  of  its  own  weight.  He  so  notified  a 
number  of  the  best  citizens,  some  of  them  experienced  bridge 
builders,  and  appointed  a  day  when  they  should  all  meet  there 
for  consultation.  They  were  all  of  the  opinion  that  the  bridge 
where  they  met  would  fall  of  its  own  weight,  and  as  the  other 
bridge  was  like  it,  only  a  little  shorter,  it  was  agreed  that  a  purse 
should  be  made  up  and  an  attorney  employed  to  enjoin  the 
reception  of  the  bridges.  The  writer,  being  the  youngest  man 
in  the  company,  was  requested  to  raise  the  money  and  employ 
counsel.  The  money  was  soon  made  up  and  counsel  employed. 

It  should  now  be  stated  that  the  citizens  who  met  at  the  bridge 
had  lived  there  since  the  pioneer  days  of  the  county,  and  knew 
every  bridge,  and  the  cost  of  it,  that  had  ever  been  built  there. 
The  first  one  cost  $350  and  stayed  there  very  many  years,  until 
it  finally  rotted  down.  Another  was  built  at  an  advanced  cost, 
and  it  rotted  down,  and  one  was  built  just  prior  to  the  war  at  a 
cost  of  $1,250,  and  the  citizens  made  a  great  howl  at  such 
extravagance.  But  it  was  an  excellent  bridge,  and  gave  good 
service  until  it  was  destroyed  during  the  war.  The  reader  can 
thus  compare  these  figures  with  $5,000,  now  about  to  be  paid 
for  a  bridge  that  competent  men  said  would  fall  in  a  short  time 
of  its  own  weight. 

L.  J.  Fathere,  the  member  of  the  board  who  had  the  matter 
in  hand,  hearing  of  what  was  being  done  by  the  citizens  of  the 
neighborhood,  came  to  the  writer  and  told  him  he  had  heard 
of  what  was  being  done  and  had  come  to  assure  him  that  he 
would  never  accept  the  bridges  as  they  were,  and  that  he  had 
no  thought  of  paying  $9,000  for  them.  He  said  that  he  would 
see  that  they  were  securely  and  properly  made,  that  he  had 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  91 

kept  an  account  of  the  expense  incurred  by  his  brother  in  the 
building  of  them,  and  that  nothing  more  than  that  would  be 
paid.  The  writer  notified  the  citizens  of  what  had  been  told  him 
by  Fathere,  and  having  confidence  in  him,  the  intended  suit  was 
called  off.  Imagine  our  chagrin  when  we  learned  that  the  very 
first  act  of  the  board  of  supervisors  when  it  met  was  to  receive 
the  two  bridges  and  issue  the  warrant  for  $9,000  for  them,  with- 
out any  futher  work  being  done  on  them.  The  writer  immedi- 
ately wrote  an  article  detailing  the  circumstances  of  the  transac- 
tion and  published  it  in  the  Hinds  County  Gazette  and  dared 
Fathere  to  deny  it,  which  he  never  did.  The  bridges  fell  in  less 
than  a  year,  of  their  own  weight,  as  had  been  predicted.  When 
the  grand  jury  met,  Hon.  Luke  Lea,  who  was  district  attorney, 
had  the  writer  called  before  it  and  questioned  him  himself. 
As  the  writer  was  leaving  the  room  he  heard  Mr.  Lea  urge  the 
grand  jury  to  act  on  that  and  other  testimony.  But  the  grand 
jury  was  made  up  principally  of  negroes,  and  so  nothing  was 
ever  done. 

Some  years  afterwards,  a  scalawag  officeholder  told  me  that 
he  and  a  number  of  other  prominent  Republicans  were  interested 
in  those  bridges  and  divided  the  spoil  between  them.  He  said 
that  he  was  uneasy  about  the  warrant  which  reached  him  until 
it  had  been  cashed  and  he  had  the  money  in  his  pocket.  Fathere 
could  stand  public  sentiment  no  longer  than  the  end  of  his  term, 
and  then  sold  out  and  left  the  State  never  to  return.  This  was 
by  no  means  the  only  case  of  robbery  of  the  county.  They  were 
legion,  and  to  meet  them  taxes  went  up  to  thirty  dollars  on  the 
thousand,  and  still  the  county  warrants  went  down  to  as  low 
as  sixty  cents  on  the  dollar. 

During  the  years  which  intervened  between  1870  and  1875 
things  went  from  bad  to  worse.  The  elections  which  were  held 
in  those  years  always  went  Republican,  as  the  negroes,  the 
scalawags  and  carpetbaggers  had  complete  control  of  the  Repub- 
lican party,  for  they  alone  composed  it.  I  heard  Governor 
Alcorn  say  in  an  address  at  the  courthouse  at  Raymond: 

"My  countrymen,  it  has  been  said  that  the  Republican  party  in  Missis- 
sippi is  composed  of  myself,  a  few  carpetbaggers,  and  the  negroes, — and  I 
think  that  that  is  about  correct." 


92  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

At  the  election  in  1873  there  were  one  white  man  and  four 
negroes  elected  members  of  the  board  of  supervisors,  and  they 
held  office  until  after  the  election  in  1875.  The  Democrats 
through  that  period  felt  that  they  were  in  a  hopeless  condition 
and  would  have  to  stand  all  that  the  Republican  majority  would 
put  upon  them.  Behind  it  stood  the  military  power  of  the 
United  States,  and  while  there  were  only  a  thousand  United 
States  soldiers  in  Mississippi,  yet  behind  that  was  the  whole 
United  States  Government.  The  negro,  if  he  had  any  reason 
about  him,  refused  to  exercise  it  when  approached  by  a  Demo- 
crat to  argue  with  him.  They  were  taught  by  the  Federal 
soldiers  and  by  the  white  Republican  leaders  that  they  must 
stand  together  and  vote  the  ticket  "even  if  it  contained  a  yel- 
low dog."  Intimidation  was  immediately  brought  to  bear  on 
one  of  their  number  who  should  listen  for  one  moment  to  a 
Democrat's  persuasive  argument  that  all  was  going  to  ruin  under 
the  Republican  rule. 

Let  it  be  said  to  their  credit  that  there  were  always  a  few 
negroes  who  stood  by  the  Democratic  party.  One,  to  whom  I 
was  greatly  attached,  because  he  had  gone  through  the  war  with 
me, — had  been  captured  by  the  Federal  army  three  times  but 
had  each  time  escaped  and  returned  to  me — refused  to  join  the 
Republican  party,  and  for  a  long  time  voted  the  Democratic 
ticket.  For  this  he  was  maligned  and  abused  by  nearly  all  of 
his  color,  including  his  own  wife.  Finally  a  number  of  them 
jumped  on  him  and  cut  him  so  badly  he  barely  recovered.  He 
came  to  me  at  the  next  election  and  told  me  that  he  could  not 
vote  the  Democratic  ticket  any  more  for  fear  of  his  life,  but  that 
he  would  never  vote  the  Republican  ticket.  The  political  con- 
dition seemed  so  hopeless  that  until  the  summer  of  1874  but  little 
was  done  to  thwart  the  Republican  party  of  Mississippi.  During 
that  time  the  negroes  became  exceedingly  insolent  and  over- 
bearing towards  the  white  people.  How  the  white  people  ever 
stood  what  they  did  is  a  wonder  to  those  of  us  who  lived  under  it. 

In  the  summer  of  1874  a  few  of  us  got  together  at  Raymond, 
formed  a  taxpayers'  league,  and  began  a  concerted  effort  to 
keep  down  the  extravagance  of  the  board  of  supervisors.  But 
we  could  really  do  little  except  protest.  And  so  matters  went  on 
until  the  election  in  1875  began  to  approach,  when,  driven  to 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  93 

desperation,  we  started  the  opposition  to  radical  rule  and  kept 
it  up  until  after  the  election.  The  feeling  of  unrest  and  deter- 
mination to  rebel  against  Republican  rule  grew  throughout  the 
county,  at  first  without  much  concerted  effort.  Every  taxpayer 
felt  it,  and  at  the  suggestion  that  clubs  should  be  formed  at 
every  voting  precinct,  it  was  promptly  done.  The  Democratic 
Executive  Committee  was  composed  of  some  of  the  very  best 
men  in  the  county.  It  met  at  Raymond  and  organized  with 
C.  D.  Gillespie,  an  attorney  at  Raymond,  as  chairman,  and  the 
writer  as  secretary.  A  subcommittee  to  manage  the  campaign 
was  appointed,  consisting  of  five  men  who  lived  at  or  near 
Raymond,  and  including  the  chairman  and  secretary  of  the 
executive  committee.  We  urged  the  establishment  of  clubs  at 
every  voting  precinct,  and  asked  that  they  have  meetings  every 
Saturday,  and  that  a  report  after  every  meeting  should  be  made  to 
the  secretary  of  the  executive  committee,  and  that  these  reports 
should  give  the  numbers  in  attendance  and  the  additions  to  each 
club.  We  urged  them  to  get  a  list  of  all  the  Democratic  voters 
in  the  precinct  and  that  personal  efforts  be  made  to  get  every 
one  of  them  to  join  a  club.  This  was  pretty  thoroughly  carried 
out.  We  then  urged  every  man  to  select  the  negro  voter  with 
whom  he  had  the  greatest  influence  and  endeavor  to  get  him  to 
join,  and  to  promise  him  protection  from  the  Republicans  in  so 
doing,  and  to  carry  out  to  the  letter  that  promise.  Before  the 
i8th  of  August,  1875,  we  had  a  thorough  organization,  and  our 
membership  included  some  negroes.  The  executive  committee 
then  called  for  a  mass  meeting  at  Raymond  to  be  held  on  the 
1 8th  of  August,  and  urged  every  Democrat,  white  and  black,  to 
come  on  horseback  and  in  procession.  They  formed  at  their 
respective  precincts  and  marched  to  Raymond,  exhibiting  all 
the  way  the  greatest  enthusiasm.  Many  of  these  clubs  provided 
themselves  with  uniforms.  The  one  I  remember  most  distinctly 
was  the  Terry  club,  who  had  fancy  shirts  trimmed  in  red.  At 
the  head  of  this  club  was  ex-Governor  A.  G.  Brown. 

Everything  was  carried  in  that  parade  which  would  belittle 
and  degrade  the  Republican  party.  It  was  the  greatest  dem- 
onstration of  the  kind  ever  seen  before  or  since  at  Raymond. 
The  line  of  march  was  so  long  that  the  streets  of  the  little  town 
would  not  hold  it.  The  people  passed  through  on  every  street 


94  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

and  went  to  a  grove  north  of  the  town  where  they  disbanded 
and  gathered  around  the  improvised  stand.  The  wildest  en- 
thusiasm prevailed,  and  when  C.  D.  Gillespie,  chairman  of  the 
executive  committee  called  the  meeting  to  order,  quiet  could 
scarcely  be  restored  until  ex-Governor  Albert  G.  Brown,  with 
his  red  shirt  on,  was  introduced  as  chairman  of  the  meeting. 
He  made  an  enthusiastic  address.  If  my  memory  serves  me 
right,  Maj.  E.  Barksdale  of  Jackson  made  the  next  speech.  But 
the  people  needed  no  speaking  to  arouse  them  to  their  duty. 
Even  the  barbecue  which  had  been  provided  had  but  little 
attraction.  Resolutions  were  passed  expressive  of  the  deter- 
mination of  the  Democrats  to  carry  the  election,  and  pledging 
every  man  to  do  his  duty.  In  talking  with  the  negroes  emphasis 
was  laid  on  the  fact  that  every  one  who  joined  the  Democratic 
club  would  be  defended  to  the  death  if  need  be.  It  was  not  the 
policy  of  the  democracy  to  indulge  in  much  speaking,  as  we  had 
found  that  public  speaking  to  the  negroes  amounted  to  nothing. 
The  clubs  continued  to  grow,  but  very  slowly,  when  about  the 
first  of  September  the  executive  committee  received  from  the 
Republicans  an  invitation  to  a  joint  debate  at  Clinton  on  the 
4th  of  September. 

The  invitation  to  the  joint  discussion  was  sent  to  me  by  the 
Republicans,  and  the  subcommittee  was  called  together  to  con- 
sider the  matter.  We  concluded  to  accept  and  I  was  instructed 
to  invite  the  Hon.  Amos  R.  Johnston  to  represent  the  Democrats 
and  speak  on  that  occasion.  He  responded  to  my  letter  that 
he  would  be  present  and  speak  as  we  had  requested.  On  Satur- 
day morning  the  4th  of  September,  the  day  for  the  meeting  at 
Clinton,  I  found  that  very  few  white  people  were  inclined  to  go. 
Just  before  I  was  ready  to  go  I  stepped  into  Col.  Richard  Charl- 
ton's  store,  and  he  asked  me  if  I  knew  the  negroes  were  purchas- 
ing ammunition.  I  replied  that  I  did  not  know  it.  He  then 
told  me  that  quite  a  large  number  had  purchased  ammunition 
and  that  when  he  found  so  many  buying  he  had  declined  to  sell 
any  more  to  them.  He  remarked,  if  you  go  to  Clinton  you  had 
better  go  prepared.  I  went  to  my  office  and  got  from  a  relative 
my  navy  six  shooter  I  had  when  the  war  closed,  and  asked  him 
if  it  was  all  right.  He  said  that  he  had  cleaned  it  up  and  it 
was  all  right  (I  had  not  seen  it  for  a  long  time).  I  told  him  what 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  95 

Colonel  Charlton  had  said,  and  he  went  and  prepared  himself- 
I  do  not  know  how  many  white  men  were  at  that  meeting,  but 
the  highest  number  I  ever  heard  named  was  seventy -five.  These 
were  principally  from  Raymond,  Clinton  and  the  surrounding 
neighborhood.  On  our  way  to  Clinton,  in  and  around  the  town 
and  on  the  grounds,  an  immense  crowd  of  negroes  appeared. 
The  men  were  formed  in  companies  and  the  whole  put  together 
like  a  regiment  with  commanders,  though  with  not  very  much 
order  save  that  they  kept  in  the  lines  as  placed  and  marched 
through  Clinton.  Their  manner  was  arrogant  and  somewhat 
offensive  toward  us,  and  there  was  evidence  of  bad  feeling 
toward  the  white  people.  When  we  arrived  at  the  grounds  the 
Democratic  and  the  Republican  members  of  the  committees  got 
together  and  arranged  the  program  about  as  follows:  John  M. 
Chilton,  a  Republican,  raised  in  the  county  and  the  son  of  a 
distinguished  lawyer,  presided  over  the  meeting.  Judge  John- 
ston was  to  open  with  an  address  of  one  hour  and  a  quarter,  to 
be  followed  by  H.  T.  Fisher,  a  carpetbag  Republican  and  the 
editor  of  a  Republican  paper  at  Jackson,  for  one  hour  and  a 
quarter,  and  then  Judge  Johnston  was  to  have  fifteen  minutes 
to  reply.  Judge  Johnston  spoke  for  about  an  hour  and  Mr. 
Fisher  had  replied  about  fifteen  minutes  when  the  disturbance 
took  place.  I  was  within  a  few  feet  of  the  speakers'  stand, 
reclining  on  the  grass,  and  by  my  side  was  my  friend,  Baldwin 
Marshall.  While  the  speaking  was  going  on  we  were  within  a 
few  feet  of  the  stand  and  heard  all  that  passed  on  the  stand  and 
near  by  it.  I  said  to  Mr.  Marshall,  "Things  look  pretty  squally 
here,  don't  you  think  so?"  He  replied,  "Yes,  and  I  am  going 
to  leave  and  go  home."  There  was  a  seriousness  on  the  faces 
of  so  many  people  that  I  feared  a  riot,  but  had  no  idea  when 
and  where  it  would  begin.  I  said  to  him  that  neither  of  us 
ought  to  go,  that  there  were  but  few  white  men  on  the  ground, 
and  that  they  would  be  at  the  mercy  of  the  negroes.  A  few 
moments  afterwards  I  saw  a  disturbed  condition  of  the  crowd 
about  seventy-five  yards  away.  Chas.  Caldwell,  of  whom  I  will 
speak  later,  was  very  near  to  me,  and  as  soon  as  he  saw  the 
disturbance  begin,  he  went  hurriedly  to  the  place  and  placed 
himself  between  the  belligerents,  a  few  white  men  on  the  west 
side  facing  the  east  and  an  immense  horde  of  negroes  facing  them 


96  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

and  only  a  few  feet  apart.  Caldwell  had  no  arms  as  far  as  I  saw, 
but  going  between  the  belligerents  he  used  his  walking  cane 
(I  think  struck  some  of  them)  on  the  negroes,  and  seemed  to  be 
counseling  with  the  whites.  It  is  fair  to  him  to  give  his  statement 
of  what  occurred  as  written  by  him  the  next  day  and  published 
some  days  later  in  the  Weekly  Pilot,  a  radical  paper  published 
at  Jackson : 

"Upon  hearing  some  very  rough  language  I  proceeded  to  the  spot 
indicated.  When  I  got  there  I  asked  what  is  the  matter.  A  policeman 
said  this  man  Thompson  has  drawn  a  pistol  on  one  of  the  colored  men 
who  was  marching  in  the  procession,  using  certain  opprobrious  epithets. 
I  remarked,  my  young  friend,  for  God's  sake  don't  disturb  the  meeting. 
I  soon  saw  that  the  feeling  was  so  strong  and  so  determined  that  I  called 
upon  some  of  the  other  white  men  to  assist  me  in  preserving  the  peace. 
No  one  responded.  I  saw  Neil  Wharton  and  Thompson  (white)  draw 
their  pistols,  and  I  slipped  up  to  Neil  telling  him  that  that  would  not  do. 
I  did  the  same  with  Thompson,  and  they  put  their  weapons  back  in  their 
pockets.  In  a  few  minutes  they  had  them  drawn  again ;  then  the  shoot- 
ing began.  I  saw  Thompson  shoot  the  first  shot  that  was  fired,  pouring 
some  four  or  five  shots  into  the  crowd  of  which  he  formed  a  part.  At 
this  time  the  firing  had  become  general.  The  colored  people  soon  con- 
centrated at  this  point,  when  the  white  lines  dispersed,  and  the  firing 
ceased." 

I  have  thus  given  Chas.  Caldwell's  version  of  the  matter  in 
order  that  I  may  now  clearly  state  my  own  observations.  I 
was  on  an  elevation  near  the  speakers'  stand  and  could  see 
clearly  what  was  going  on,  but  could  not  hear  because  of  the 
noise  and  confusion  and  the  distance.  Hardly  had  Caldwell 
extricated  himself  from  between  the  men  when  the  negroes 
pressed  on  towards  the  white  men  in  a  belligerent  and  threaten- 
ing manner.  There  was  a  mere  handful  of  the  white  men  at  that 
point,  some  being  around  the  stand  and  others  scattered  about. 
I  am  not  sure,  but  I  think  the  negroes  pressed  the  white  men 
so  vigorously  that  there  was  nothing  left  to  do  but  to  shoot  or 
retreat.  I  saw  Thompson  shoot  as  rapidly  as  he  could  fire  his 
pistol,  not  being  at  the  time  more  than  six  feet  from  the  negroes, 
until  he  emptied  it,  as  did  also  his  comrades  I  think,  and  then 
they  were  at  the  mercy  of  the  negroes,  and  he,  Thompson, 
turned  and  fled  to  the  west.  The  confusion  became  so  great  I 
could  not  distinguish  the  white  men,  or  tell  the  way  they  went. 
I  concluded  the  wisest  thing  I  could  do  was  to  get  my  buggy 
and  go  as  rapidly  as  I  could  to  the  telegraph  office  and  wire  for 
assistance  from  Bolton  and  Jackson.  My  friend  Marshall  at 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  97 

the  first  fire  made  for  bis  horse  near  by  and  escaped  without 
trouble.  I  left  the  stand  with  not  a  white  man  with  me  and  went 
northeast  through  the  infuriated  mob  alone,  until  Dr.  Miller, 
my  brother-in-law,  came  to  me  and  said,  "Let  me  stay  with  you, 
I  killed  a  negro  a  few  moments  ago  and  they  are  after  me." 
I  told  him  that  it  was  wise  for  us  to  hold  our  fire  until  compelled 
in  self  defense  to  use  our  pistols,  and  then  we  must  do  the  most 
effective  work  possible.  We  had  gone  but  a  short  distance  when 
we  came  up  with  Captain  Aisquith  of  Raymond,  who  was  then 
in  the  clutches  of  the  negroes  and  was  shot  in  the  body.  We 
succeeded  in  getting  him  away  from  the  negroes  and  exercised 
all  the  policy  we  could  to  keep  the  negroes  from  attacking  us, 
as  we  knew  that  with  the  numbers  around  us  we  would  have  no 
show  for  our  lives.  In  a  very  few  minutes  we  reached  my  horse 
and  buggy,  lifted  Captain  Aisquith  into  the  buggy.  I  sat  beside 
him  and  Dr.  Miller  got  up  behind  and  we  rode  to  the  nearest 
house,  which  was  Mr.  Chas.  Chilton's,  going  through  the  mob. 
How  we  kept  them  off  of  us  I  am  unable  to  say.  When  we 
arrived  at  Chilton's  he  met  us  at  the  gate  and  asked  what  was 
the  matter.  I  told  him  a  riot  of  the  worst  kind  had  broken  out. 
I  requested  him  to  take  Aisquith  into  the  house  and  to  do  what 
he  could  for  him.  He  and  Dr.  Miller  took  Aisquith  into  the 
house  and  found  that  he  was  not  seriously  shot.  I  turned  to 
go  to  the  telegraph  office,  and  in  doing  so  had  to  pass  several 
hundred  yards  back  through  the  mob.  I  was  driving  my  horse 
very  rapidly  south  on  the  public  road  and  on  both  sides  I  could 
hear  such  expressions  as  "Catch  him,"  "Kill  him,"  "Shoot  him," 
etc.  The  dirt  road  crossed  the  railroad  at  right  angles  and  on  a 
considerable  rise.  As  I  approached  the  crossing  I  saw  five  or 
six  negroes  who  had  Capt.  B.  S.  White  in  their  possession. 
Their  drawn  pistols  indicated  to  me  that  they  intended  to  kill 
him.  I  could  not  shoot  for  fear  of  shooting  White;  so  as  I 
approached  I  called  out  to  them  as  loud  as  I  could  to  let  him 
alone,  hoping  to  attract  their  attention.  While  I  was  approach- 
ing a  negro,  whom  I  afterwards  learned  was  Wade  Walker, 
knocked  White  down,  stood  over  his  body,  struck  him  a  terrible 
blow  on  the  top  of  his  head,  and  rolled  him  over  into  a  gully. 
I  was  in  the  angry  mob  as  soon  as  my  horse  could  get  me  there. 
One  negro,  with  his  pistol  drawn,  leaped  in  front  of  my  horse, 


98  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

caught  the  bridle,  and  began  to  shoot  at  me  from  my  horse's 
head;  two  others  on  my  right  and  not  twenty  feet  away  were 
shooting  as  fast  as  they  could  at  me,  and  two  more  on  my  left 
were  also  shooting  at  me.  The  man  who  had  knocked  White 
in  the  head  started  towards  me  at  the  same  time  the  others 
began  to  shoot,  and  said,  "What  in  the  hell  have  you  got  to  do 
with  it?"  At  the  same  time  some  of  the  mob  rushed  up  behind 
and  began  to  beat  me  in  the  back.  My  policy  was  to  kill  the 
negro  who  was  coming  at  me  with  the  club.  I  had  been  so 
engaged  managing  the  horse,  and  I  had  been  so  determined  not 
to  use  my  pistol  until  it  became  a  life  and  death  matter,  that  I 
had  not  drawn  it.  When  the  negro  made  at  me  with  the  stick 
I  reached  for  my  revolver,  cocked,  and  aimed  to  kill  him  before 
he  got  to  me,  but  the  pistol  hung  in  the  scabbard  and  I  was  a 
moment  delayed  in  getting  it  out, — so  as  he  struck  me  a  dread- 
ful blow  in  the  forehead,  I  shot  him  through  a  little  above  the 
heart  and  he  died  in  a  few  minutes.  The  blow  knocked  me 
senseless  for  a  moment,  and  when  I  came  to  I  found  the  pistol 
in  the  bottom  of  the  buggy.  I  reached  for  it  and  raised  it,  looked 
around,  and  took  deliberate  aim  at  the  negro  holding  my  horse, 
but  the  pistol  refused  to  revolve,  having  become  disarranged  by 
the  fall.  He  saw  my  deliberation,  turned  the  horse  loose  and 
ran  with  great  speed  on  the  road  towards  Clinton.  The  reins 
had  become  unbuckled  at  my  hand  and  were  lying  on  the 
ground.  The  horse,  having  been  slightly  wounded,  was  greatly 
frightened  and  ran  with  all  his  might.  The  road  from  the  cross- 
ing to  Clinton  is  a  circle  about  half  a  mile  long.  I  was  so  in- 
terested in  the  horse,  which  was  now  running  away  with  me, 
that  I  saw  no  one  except  my  life-long  friend,  Col.  W.  A.  Mont- 
gomery, who  had  escaped  the  mob,  gone  to  town  and  obtained 
a  shotgun  and  met  me  as  I  was  about  half  around  the  curve. 
His  horse  was  in  a  lope,  and  just  after  passing  me,  he  shot  at  the 
negroes.  My  horse  ran  up  into  the  town  and  was  caught  by 
some  friends.  I  met  there  Dr.  Dupree,  my  neighbor,  who  looked 
at  my  bunged-up  condition  and  advised  that  I  go  on  to  Ray- 
mond, my  home,  where  my  wounds  could  be  attended  to,  all  of 
which  proved  to  be  slight.  I  received  one  shot  in  the  hand,  and 
my  body  and  head  were  badly  disfigured.  I  found  that  tele- 
grams had  been  sent  already  to  Bolton,  Jackson,  Edwards,  and 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  99 

Vicksburg,  and  from  these  points  help  soon  came.  Some  of  the 
witnesses  before  the  Bout  well  Investigating  Committee  say  that 
as  my  horse  ran  around  that  curve  while  the  reins  were  on  the 
ground,  there  were  forty  or  fifty  negroes  beside  the  road  shooting 
at  me.  I  was  so  much  concerned  with  the  runaway  horse  and 
the  results,  I  gave  no  attention  to  those  shooting  at  me  then. 
Captain  Montgomery  testifies  that  he  shot  two  loads  at  them 
immediately  after  passing  me  and  that  dispersed  them. 

In  his  article,  from  which  I  have  heretofore  quoted,  Caldwell 
says  that  after  Fisher  began  to  speak  some  one  in  the  audience 
called  him  a  liar.  I  was  in  twenty  feet  of  Fisher,  and  if  such 
was  done  I  did  not  hear  it,  and  I  do  not  think  it  was  said. 

Thompson's  horse  seems  to  have  been  west  of  the  grounds, 
and  when  he  retreated  he  mounted  his  horse  and  went  west  alone. 
His  body  was  afterwards  found  shot,  and  his  head  and  face  fear- 
fully mutilated.  A  dead  negro  was  found  between  his  body  and 
where  the  fight  began,  and  the  supposition  was  that  he  reloaded 
his  pistol  and  in  a  fight  killed  the  negro,  and  that  there  being 
too  many  for  him  they  succeeded  in  killing  him.  Martin  Siv- 
ley  went  east,  and  after  he  had  emptied  his  pistol  was  killed  in  a 
field  about  one-fourth  of  a  mile  from  where  the  fight  began. 
In  less  than  ten  minutes  after  I  left  him  Chas.  Chilton  was  killed 
in  his  own  yard,  it  is  said  while  attempting  to  give  shelter  and 
protection  to  some  negro  women  and  children.  When  the  fight 
began  those  who  were  not  actually  engaged  in  fighting  were 
thrown  into  a  stampede,  and  the  women,  children,  and  men  left 
the  grounds  without  regard  to  the  manner  of  leaving. 

Some  writers,  in  giving  an  account  of  Colonel  Montgomery's 
assisting  me,  leave  the  impression  that  he  got  to  me  in  the  thickest 
of  the  fight,  but  when  I  was  in  that  terrible  and  unequal  fight 
which  I  have  described,  there  is  no  man  on  earth  I  would  rather 
have  had  come  on  the  scene  than  Colonel  Montgomery,  for  I 
have  no  more  devoted  friend,  and  there  are  none  braver.  But 
as  I  have  heretofore  explained,  he  did  not  meet  me  until  some 
minutes  after  I  was  in  the  fight,  and  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  mile 
irom  it.  If  he  had  known  the  fearful  danger  I  was  in,  I  do  not 
doubt  he  would  have  come  to  my  assistance  and  thrown  himself 
into  the  breach  and  risked  his  life  in  my  defense. 


ioo  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

During  the  next  few  days  there  was  anarchy  in  our  county. 
Friends  of  mine  from  all  over  the  county  came  to  me  at  all  hours 
of  the  day  and  night  to  know  who  the  negroes  were  who  gave 
me  such  a  fight.  I  did  not  know  a  single  one  of  them  and  could 
therefore  give  only  a  faint  description  of  the  one  who  held  my 
horse.  If  these  negroes  could  have  been  found  and  identified, 
not  one  of  them  would  have  escaped  death.  But  the  question 
which  presented  itself  then  and  there  to  the  people  of  Hinds 
County  was  whether  or  not  the  negroes,  under  the  reconstruc- 
tion laws,  should  rule  the  county.  The  terrible  ordeal  through 
which  we  passed  on  that  eventful  fourth  of  September  fired  a 
determination  in  the  minds  of  the  white  people  to  overthrow 
the  negro  rule  at  any  cost.  Throughout  the  county  for  several 
days  the  negro  leaders,  some  white  and  some  black,  were  hunted 
down  and  killed,  until  the  negro  population  which  had  domi- 
nated the  white  people  for  so  many  years  were  whipped.  Since 
that  time  they  have  never  ruled  the  county,  and  I  prophesy  they 
never  will. 

Thus  the  backbone  was  broken,  but  the  end  was  not  yet 
reached, — the  coming  election  had  to  be  carried.  I  cannot  for- 
bear to  tell  how  this  was  done.  Before  doing  so,  however,  I 
desire  to  make  some  further  comments  on  the  Clinton  riot. 
Who  fired  the  first  shot  was  a  mooted  question ;  but  I  am  now 
informed  by  a  reliable  man,  who  was  by  Thompson's  side,  that 
the  first  shot  came  from  the  negroes,  and  that  it  was  caught  by 
Thompson  in  the  thigh  or  groin. 

Maj.  Geo.  W.  Harper,  in  an  editorial  some  weeks  before,  had 
recommended  that  at  every  radical  meeting  ten  reputable  citi- 
zens should  appear  from  among  the  Democrats,  and  that  when  a 
radical  speaker  should  tell  a  falsehood  to  deceive  the  negroes,  it 
should  then  and  there  be  publicly  disputed.  The  radical  papers, 
after  the  4th  of  September,  claimed  that  this  was  done  by  the 
Democrats  at  Clinton,  and  that  it  was  by  the  Democrats  giving 
the  falsehood  to  Fisher  that  the  trouble  was  brought  on.  I  was 
a  member  of  the  Raymond  club  and  a  member  of  the  county 
executive  committee,  and  I  know  that  such  was  not  the  case. 
That  the  negroes  went  there  to  raise  a  row, — some  of  them  at 
least, — was  afterwards  abundantly  proved.  Negroes  whom  I 
knew  well  told  me  that  messages  came  from  Clinton  to  even 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  101 

their  distant  clubs,  inviting  them  to  come  armed  and  prepared 
to  fight.  The  same  negroes  told  me  that,  if  they  had  known  I 
was  going,  they  would  have  done  all  they  could  to  keep  me 
away. 

H.  T.  Fisher,  in  his  testimony  before  the  Boutwell  Committee, 
undertakes  to  show  that  there  had  been  no  waste  of  money  in 
the  county  expenditures,  and  that  the  taxes  were  not  exorbitant. 
The  minutes  of  the  board  of  supervisors  show  to  the  contrary. 
A  copy  of  The  Pilot,  published  in  1874,  gives  in  six  closely 
printed  columns  a  list  of  lands  sold  for  taxes,  which  taxes  were 
so  exorbitant  that  many  persons  could  not  pay  them. 

Of  the  effects  of  the  fight  at  Clinton  it  will  perhaps  be  well  to 
speak.  Very  many  leaders  of  the  Republicans  in  different  parts 
of  the  county  were  killed  in  the  next  few  days.  This  was  not 
done  by  any  order  of  the  Democratic  party,  but  the  white  men 
were  so  enraged  that  it  was  impossible  to  control  them.  The 
men  who  had  done  most  to  urge  the  negroes  on  in  their  antago- 
nism to  the  whites,  where  they  could  be  caught,  were  killed. 
Many  of  the  negroes  who  were  known  to  have  been  in  the  fight 
were  killed,  and,  of  course,  some  innocent  ones  also  suffered,  but 
not  many.  When  it  became  a  race  war,  some  of  the  whites  who 
had  affiliated  with  the  Republicans,  joined  the  Democrats.  The 
negroes  in  the  county  were  pretty  thoroughly  subjugated.  Num- 
bers of  them  joined  the  Democratic  clubs,  some  doubtless  through 
fear,  though  some  of  them  said  that  they  would  have  joined  long 
before  but  for  fear  of  the  Republican  negroes  and  whites. 

Chas.  Caldwell,  of  whom  I  have  heretofore  spoken,  was  a 
mulatto,  far  above  the  average  negro  in  intelligence.  He  was  a 
blacksmith  by  trade  when  a  slave.  He  was  then  a  candidate  for 
the  State  Senate  and  saw  his  chances  waning  every  day.  He 
became  embittered  beyond  measure  against  the  whites,  and 
sought  counsel  from  Ames,  our  carpetbag  Governor.  It  was 
agreed  between  them  that  Caldwell  should  raise  a  colored  com- 
pany of  militia,  thus  hoping  to  give  courage  to  the  negroes  and 
at  the  same  time  cause  them  to  cling  to  the  Republican  party. 
Nothing  done  while  Ames  was  Governor  so  aroused  the  antago- 
nism of  the  white  people.  He  armed  this  company,  and  still 
another  negro  company,  and  accepted  them  as  State  militia. 
While  the  immediate  effects  of  the  Clinton  riot  were  being  felt, 


io2  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Ames  appealed  to  President  Grant  for  United  States  troops. 
Grant  responded  that  the  condition  of  things  in  Mississippi  did 
not  warrant  Federal  interference.  But  the  white  people  were 
in  constant  dread  that  something  would  occur  which  would  cause 
President  Grant  to  send  troops  to  our  county  and  thereby 
destroy  our  hopes  of  carrying  the  election.  Gen.  J.  Z.  George 
was  chairman  of  the  State  Democratic  Executive  Committee, 
and  had  his  headquarters  at  Jackson.  Our  county  committee 
was  in  constant  communication  with  him  He  advised  us  of 
the  very  delicate  ground  upon  which  we  stood  and  urged  us  to 
do  nothing  which  would  give  Ames  a  legal  pretext  to  call  for 
troops.  Another  negro  company  had  been  formed  at  Edwards, 
and  Ames  desired  to  arm  them  also,  but  for  some  reason  was 
afraid  to  send  the  guns  on  the  cars.  He  detailed  Caldwell  and 
his  company  and  the  other  Jackson  negro  company  to  go  through 
the  country  by  land  and  take  the  guns  to  the  Edwards  company. 
The  white  people  were  greatly  incensed  at  this,  as  they  knew 
that  the  negroes,  and  especially  their  leader,  hated  them  with 
great  intensity.  While  on  this  march,  messenger  after  messen- 
ger came  to  the  executive  committee  at  Raymond  from  com- 
panies of  white  men  who  had  hastily  gotten  together,  asking  for 
permission  to  attack  the  negro  companies  on  their  way  to 
Edwards.  It  was  all  we  could  do  to  keep  them  from  doing  it. 
It  was  the  opinion  of  our  men  then,  and  it  is  mine  now,  that 
Ames  sent  these  men  through  the  country  in  that  way,  hoping 
that  they  would  be  attacked  by  the  white  people,  so  that  he 
could  then  successfully  call  on  the  President  for  troops.  The 
scheme  did  not  work,  for  they  were  allowed  to  go  to  Edwards, 
and  to  arm  the  company  there.  All  three  companies  then 
marched  back  to  Jackson  unmolested.  This  was  about  the 
24th  of  September.  In  the  meantime  the  Democratic  clubs 
were  at  work.  Every  nerve  and  muscle  was  stretched  in  the 
effort  to  gain  votes.  One  of  the  schemes  to  get  votes  will  be 
illustrated  here. 

A  white  man  met  a  negro  in  the  public  road  and  accosted  him  about 
as  follows: 

"Captain,  what  is  your  name?"  queried  the  white  man. 

"My  name  is  Jack  Smith,"  replied  the  negro. 

"Well,  Jack,  on  whose  place  do  you  live?"  the  white  man  asked. 

"Boss,  I  lives  on  Mr.  Yates's  place,  right  down  there  next  to  Five  Mile 
creek  bridge,"  was  the  reply. 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  103 

"All  right,  sir,"  added  the  white  man. 

Then  taking  out  his  little  memorandum  book  and  beginning  to  write, 
he  slowly  spoke  as  follows:  "You  say  your  name  is  Jack  Smith  and  you 
live  on  Mr.  Yates's  place,  next  to  Five  Mile  creek  bridge?" 

The  negro  had  his  curiosity  aroused  and  said,  "Boss,  what  you  writin' 
down  dere?" 

The  white  man  said,  "Your  name  and  where  you  live." 

"Well,  boss,  what  you  doin'  dat  for?"  further  asked  the  negro. 

The  white  man  put  the  book  back  in  his  pocket,  merely  saying  "never 
mind." 

"But  boss,  I  shore  does  want  to  know  what  you  do  dat  for,"  impor- 
tuned the  negro. 

"Well,  you  see,  Jack,  I  am  getting  up  a  dead  list  and  I  wanted  you 
on  it,"  replied  the  white  man  as  he  rode  away. 

But  the  more  the  negro  cogitated,  on  his  way  home,  the  more  uneasy 
he  became  and  the  more  he  wondered  what  it  all  meant.  In  his  dire 
distress  the  only  hope  of  saving  his  life  that  came  to  him  was  by  joining 
the  Democratic  club.  So  he  mounted  his  mule  and  started  off  to  find 
his  old  master,  whom  we  will  denominate  as  "Mars  Wes." 

When  he  arrived  at  Mars  Wes's  home,  he  did  not  see  him,  but  seeing 
his  mother,  said  to  her,  "Miss  Becky,  whar's  Mars  Wes?" 

"Well,  I  suppose  he  is  out  in  the  field,  Jack,"  was  the  reply. 

"Whar  "bouts?"  asked  the  negro. 

"Well,  I  can't  tell  you,  but  he  will  be  back  here  in  a  short  while.  Sit 
down  there  on  the  step  and  wait,  he  will  be  in  here  after  a  while,"  said 
the  lady. 

"I  shore  must  see  Mars  Wes,  Miss  Becky,  and  shore  hopes  he's  gwine 
ter  come,"  ejaculated  the  simple  negro,  taking  his  seat  on  the  doorstep. 

"Mars  Wes"  came  after  a  while,  and  Jack  spoke  to  him  as  follows: 

"Mars  Wes,  when's  the  Democratic  club  gwine  to  met  at  Auburn?" 

"Well,  I  think  Saturday,  Jack.  Why  do  you  want  to  know?"  replied 
the  white  man. 

"Well,  Mars  Wes,  I  wants  to  jine  the  club,"  said  the  negro. 

"But  Jack,  you  are  a  Republican  and  have  voted  all  these  years  with 
the  yankees,  and  the  Democrats  don't  want  Republicans  in  their  club," 
was  the  reply. 

"Now,  Mars  Wes,  please  sir  don't  talk  dat  way.  I  shore  is  a  Democrat 
now  and  wants  to  jine  the  club,"  urged  the  negro. 

He  then  told  "Mars  Wes"  what  had  happened  in  the  road  and  urged 
that  he  "neber  was  a  'publican  no  how.  Dem  niggers,"  he  continued, 
"made  me  jine  deir  club  and  dat  yankee  made  me  vote  the  'publican 
ticket.  Now,  fore  God,  Mars  Wes,  I'ze  a  Democrat  and  knows  dat  if 
you  just  say  so,  dem  Democrats  will  take  dis  nigger  in  and  let  him  vote 
wid  'em." 

"Well  now,  Jack,"  said  the  old  master,  "as  you  are  one  of  my  old 
niggers  and  we  always  got  along  pretty  well,  you  come  and  go  with  me 
next  Saturday  evening  and  I  will  see  what  I  can  do  for  you." 

"Now,  Mars  Wes,  what  time  you  gwine  to  start,"  asked  the  negro. 

"Well  now,  Jack,  sometime  after  dinner;  I  don't  know  exactly,"  was 
the  reply. 

"I's  shore  gwine  to  be  here  at  dinner  time  so  I  won't  git  left,"  said  the 
happy  negro. 

And  sure  enough  Jack  came  and  went  with  "Mars  Wes"  and  became  a 
Democrat  and  voted  the  ticket. 

The  policies  outlined  in  carrying  that  campaign  on  were  these : 


IO4  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

1.  A  solidly  organized  Democratic  front. 

2.  Individual  effort  with  negroes,  persuasive,  but  if  necessary,  intimi- 
dation. 

3.  And  if  these  failed,  then  stuff  the  ballot  box  by  putting  in  Demo- 
cratic votes  after  the  election  and  before  the  counting  had  taken  place. 

4.  Destruction  of  Republican  tickets  when  they  could  be  gotten. 

5.  Substitution  of  Democratic  for  Republican  tickets  in  the  hands  of 
the  negroes  before  they  voted  by  inserting  "Republican"  at  the  top  of 
Democratic  tickets  and  have  the  names  of  Democrats  below  the  word 
"Republican." 

6.  As  a  dernier  resort,  if  these  plans  did  not  carry,  then  the  Republi- 
cans were  to  be  counted  out  and  the  Democrats  counted  in. 

This  last  plan  met  with  a  formidable  difficulty,  which  I  will 
explain  and  show  how  it  was  overcome.  The  registrars  who 
were  to  make  the  count  of  the  votes  after  the  election  consisted 
of  one  intelligent  white  Democrat,  an  ignorant  negro,  and  a 
smart  scalawag.  It  was  easy  enough  to  get  over  the  negro 
because  he  could  not  count  the  votes  if  he  were  to  try,  nor  could 
he  cast  up  a  column  of  figures  if  the  opportunity  offered  itself. 
But  it  was  going  to  be  more  difficult  to  get  rid  of  the  scalawag. 
It  was  known  that  he  was  a  scalawag  for  the  money  there  was  in 
it,  and  so  the  money  was  the  only  thing  which  would  get  him 
out  of  the  way.  It  was  felt  that  five  hundred  dollars  would  per- 
suade him  to  be  out  of  the  way  on  the  day  that  the  count  was  to 
be  made,  and  so  it  was  decided  that  he  should  be  approached 
and  the  arrangement  made  for  him  to  be  absent  at  that  time. 
There  was  a  wealthy  Democrat  in  our  county  who  had  announced 
publicly  that  the  taxes  which  were  being  imposed  upon  him 
prevented  there  being  any  net  profit  on  his  property  in  the 
county,  and  he  was  therefore  exceedingly  anxious  that  the 
Republicans  should  be  turned  out  in  order 'that  the  taxes  might 
be  reduced.  He  was  approached  and  asked  to  give  the  five 
hundred  dollars,  which  he  cheerfully  did,  and  it  was  turned  over 
to  the  scalawag  registrar,  who  accepted  it.  On  the  day  that  the 
count  was  made  after  the  election  this  scalawag  was  sick  and 
failed  to  appear  to  assist  in  making  the  count. 

I  feel  confident  that  all  of  these  means  were  used,  except 
stuffing  the  ballot  box  and  the  counting-out.  These  were  not 
necessary,  and  I  am  sure  were  not  used. 

The  reader  of  this,  who  did  not  live  through  that  terrible 
ordeal,  will  lift  up  his  hands  in  horror  and  say  that  those  were 
corrupt  practices.  And  I  am  not  prepared  to  deny  it.  We 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  105 

looked  upon  the  matter  thus:  We  had  quietly  borne  the  corrup- 
tion of  the  Republican  party  until  disaster  and  bankruptcy 
stared  us  in  the  face.  We  had  lost  all  hope  that  the  negro  would 
ever  cease  to  be  dominated  by  the  Republican  party,  and  we 
were  forced  to  a  choice  between  the  evils  of  negro  rule  and  the 
evils  of  the  questionable  practices  to  overthrow  it.  We  chose 
what  we  thought  was  the  lesser  evil,  and  it  is  now  not  to  be 
regretted. 

Before  coming  down  to  the  final  day  of  election,  let  me  go  back 
to  the  time  of  Caldwell's  march  through  Hinds  County.  While 
that  was  being  prepared  the  white  people  became  fearfully 
wrought  up  against  Ames.  The  executive  committee  received 
messages  and  was  otherwise  importuned  to  allow  a  squad  of 
men  to  enter  Jackson,  surround  the  mansion  at  night  and  take 
Ames  and  hang  him  to  a  post.  We  protested,  not  because  we 
loved  Ames,  but  we  knew  if  this  were  done  troops  would  be  sent 
by  the  President  and  we  would  fail  to  carry  the  election,  and 
military  despotism  would  be  the  result.  The  day  that  Caldwell 
marched  through  Hinds  County  to  Edwards  the  circuit  court 
adjourned,  and  I  at  once  started  to  Pontotoc  by  way  of  Oxford 
to  join  my  family,  where  I  had  a  sick  child.  When  I  left  Ray- 
mond it  was  by  no  means  certain  that  Caldwell  would  not  be 
attacked,  nor  was  it  certain  that  a  well  organized  squad  would 
not  go  to  Jackson,  take  Ames,  if  to  be  found,  and  kill  him. 
It  is  true  that  the  subcommittee  had  done  all  it  could  to  prevent 
it.  As  I  passed  through  Jackson  that  evening  I  learned  that 
Ames  was  dreadfully  uneasy,  and  there  was  a  possibility,  I  knew, 
that  his  emissaries  would  notify  him  of  the  coming  of  the  mob. 
When  the  train  I  was  on  reached  Coffeeville,  Col.  L.  Q.  C.  Lamar 
entered  the  car,  on  his  way  to  Oxford,  and  as  he  walked  down 
the  aisle  he  saw  me,  shook  hands  with  me  and  sat  beside  me. 
While  I  was  a  student  at  the  University  he  was  a  professor  there, 
and  I  got  to  know  him  quite  well.  I  immediately  told  him  of 
what  had  happened  in  Hinds  County ;  of  the  sending  of  the  negro 
troops  through  the  country,  how  the  people  were  outraged,  how 
we  had  made  every  effort  to  keep  armed  men  from  attacking 
the  negroes,  and  especially  how  we  had  used  our  best  endeavors 
to  keep  armed  men  from  going  to  Jackson  and  making  away 
with  Ames.  I  remarked  that  I  supposed  if  such  a  thing  were 


106  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

attempted  it  would  be  almost  impossible  to  keep  it  from  reaching 
Ames'  ears,  and  if  it  did,  that  I  thought  he  would  flee  for  his  life 
and  pass  that  way  over  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad.  I  had 
never  seen  Colonel  Lamar  so  indignant,  nor  did  I  ever  know  him 
to  fly  into  such  a  passion.  His  language  about  Ames  was  decided- 
ly more  forcible  than  elegant,  and  he  added,  "If  they  will  wire  me 
when  he  leaves,  I  will  organize  a  posse  at  Oxford  and  take  him 
as  he  passes  and  hang  the  miserable  scoundrel."  But  better 
counsel  prevailed,  and  Ames  went  unmolested. 

The  fever  heat  continued  down  to  the  day  of  the  election. 
Hinds  County  expected  every  man  to  do  his  duty,  and  well  did 
they  do  it.  The  fear  of  trouble  at  the  polls  put  a  quietus  on 
everything  and  it  was  like  a  funeral  day.  While  every  Demo- 
crat was  at  his  post  and  remained  during  the  election,  there  was 
not  a  ripple  to  disturb  the  calmness  of  the  day.  Utica,  after- 
wards dubbed  the  "Gibraltar  of  Democracy,"  sent  a  solid  vote, 
save  one,  for  the  Democratic  ticket.  Not  one  vote  would  have 
been  cast  for  the  Republicans  had  not  the  Democrats  got  one 
old  negro  to  cast  a  single  vote  for  his  party.  This  habit  they 
kept  up,  out  of  a  spirit  of  fun,  in  subsequent  elections.  Every 
Democrat  in  the  county  who  was  on  the  ticket  was  elected  by 
overwhelming  majorities.  The  men,  as  far  as  could  be,  who  had 
been  turned  out  of  office  by  Federal  bayonets  six  years  before, 
were  elected.  The  grand  old  hero  of  two  wars,  S.  B.  Thomas, 
was  elected  sheriff.  That  splendid  citizen  and  soldier,  W.  T. 
Ratliff,  chancery  clerk;  Benj.  F.  Edwards,  circuit  clerk;  S.  D. 
Currie,  treasurer,  and  J.  B.  Graves,  assessor.  And  to  take  the 
place  of  the  ignorant,  corrupt  negroes  on  the  board  of  supervisors, 
John  Shelton,  the  gifted  attorney  who  would  have  graced  the 
bench,  was  named  president.  J.  F.  Tatom,  J.  W.  Neal,  Geo.  H. 
Robertson,  and  J.  R.  Home,  each  and  every  one  of  them  among 
our  very  best  citizens,  were  the  other  members. 

In  the  history  of  republican  governments,  the  rejoicing  by 
the  good  people  of  the  county  over  the  results  was  never  sur- 
passed. The  carpetbaggers  read  the  handwriting  on  the  wall 
and  left  the  State  never  to  return.  The  scalawag  hung  his  head 
in  shame,  soured  and  sulked.  Some  are  dead  now  and  some 
remain,  fit  emblems  of  the  degradation  of  man,  and  some  became 
and  still  are  good  citizens. 


Reconstruction  in  Hinds  County. — Wells.  107 

But  the  end  of  reconstruction  was  not  yet  reached.  Every 
two  years  thereafter  a  county  election  would  be  had,  and  the 
Republican  party  would  hold  up  its  head  to  be  hit  again.  There 
was  still  trouble  to  keep  the  negro  out  of  power.  Sometimes 
the  Democrats  would  become  negligent  and  fail  to  give  attention 
to  the  elections,  and  the  few  who  were  always  on  guard  would 
have  trouble  in  getting  the  masses  out  to  vote. 

One  incident  which  occurred  at  the  election  at  Raymond, 
some  time  between  1875  and  1890,  is  worth  relating. 

The  election  day  came  and  the  negroes  came  in  squads 
and  soon  showed  that  they  were  in  earnest  in  their  efforts 
to  regain  their  lost  power.  The  voting  place  was  in  the  west 
entrance  to  the  courthouse,  and  the  voter  was  expected  to 
come  from  the  front  and  vote  and  then  pass  on  through  the 
hall  to  the  rear.  It  seemed  that  all  of  the  negroes  in  the  voting 
precinct  were  on  the  ground  to  vote  and  all  the  white  people 
were  going  to  stay  away.  The  negroes  practically  had  possession 
of  the  ground  leading  up  to  the  voting  place.  A  consultation 
was  held  by  a  few  of  the  Democrats,  and  this  plan  to  get  rid  of 
the  negroes  and  keep  others  from  coming  was  determined  upon. 
They  took  into  their  counsels  a  certain  negro  who  had  been  true 
to  the  Democratic  faith  and  on  whom  the  Democrats  felt  they 
could  rely.  It  was  determined  that  he  should  crowd  in  and  vote 
and  that  there  should  follow  him  a  white  man,  and  both  should 
stand  at  the  polls  together,  and  at  the  same  instant  another 
white  man  should  appear  at  the  polls  from  the  rear.  On  meet- 
ing, the  old  negro  was  to  vote,  and  then  a  dispute  was  to  arise 
between  the  two  white  men  as  to  which  should  vote  first.  They 
should  quarrel  over  the  matter,  both  snatch  out  their  revolvers 
and  shoot  straight  up  into  the  ceiling  of  the  courthouse.  The 
old  negro  was  to  turn  and  run  and  cry  out  to  all  of  the  negroes 
as  he  ran  out,  that  every  man  of  them  had  better  run  or  they 
would  be  killed.  The  old  negro  was  to  leap  on  his  horse  and  cry 
out  to  the  negroes  to  follow. 

The  scheme  was  carried  out,  and  in  less  than  five  minutes 
there  was  not  a  negro  on  the  ground.  The  negroes  ran  in  every 
direction  and  spread  the  stampede  as  they  went,  and  the  negroes 
they  met  on  the  way  declined  to  come  to  Raymond  and  did  not 
vote  that  day. 


io8  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

On  another  occasion,  when  it  was  learned  that  the  negroes  had 
reorganized  and  were  going  to  the  polls  to  vote  solidly  against 
the  white  people,  they  were  driven  to  disband  and  stay  away 
from  the  polls  in  the  following  way: 

A  safe,  careful  man  was  selected  in  each  neighborhood  and 
told  to  summon  to  his  aid  about  a  dozen  men  he  could  control, 
all  well  mounted  and  armed  with  repeating  guns  and  pistols. 
The  night  before  the  election  these  squads  were  to  ride  all  night 
so  as  to  go  into  every  part  of  the  county.  They  were  to  halt 
and  shoot  a  great  number  of  times  about  every  half  hour  during 
the  night.  But  they  were  not  to  go  to  any  negro  houses,  and 
not  have  a  word  to  say  to  any  negro  during  the  time.  If  one 
appeared  he  was  to  be  passed  in  silence.  The  work  was  carried 
out  as  projected  and  the  result  was  what  was  desired.  The 
negroes  all  went  to  their  work  next  morning  and  did  not  go  to 
the  polls  and  vote. 

But  the  good  people  of  Mississippi,  tiring  of  this  manner  of 
carrying  elections,  called  a  Constitutional  Convention  in  the 
year  1890.  The  Constitution  then  adopted  went  into  effect  on 
the  ist  of  November  of  that  year.  This  Constitution  destroyed 
the  evil  effects  of  the  Reconstruction  Acts  in  Mississippi,  and  it 
was  so  done  as  not  to  violate  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States. 

Thus  was  reconstruction  destroyed  in  the  good  county  of 
Hinds,  and  we  hope  and  believe  it  will  never  be  resurrected. 


THE  ENFORCEMENT  ACT  OF  1871  AND  THE  KU  KLUX 
KLAN  IN  MISSISSIPPI. 

BY  J.  S.  McNEiLLY.1 

"O  that  a  man  might  know 
The  end  of  this  day's  business  ere  it  comes, 
But  it  sufficeth  that  the  day  will  end. 
And  then  the  end  is  known." 

That  measure  of  national  legislation  commonly  known  as  the 
Enforcement  or  Ku  Klux  Act,  marked  extreme  fever  heat  in  the 
reconstruction  rabies.  April  20,  1871,  is  the  date  of  its  approval 
by  President  Grant.  Before  recounting  its  operations  in  Missis- 
sippi, a  sketch  of  its  design,  with  the  causes  and  circumstances 
incident,  and  out  of  which  it  was  produced,  is  in  order.  Such  a 
sketch  of  this  law  is  indeed  essential  as  a  chapter  in  every  recon- 
struction history.  The  congressional  plan  of  restoring  the 
"lately  rebellious  states"  to  the  Union  had  been  effected  when 
this  odious  and  evil  measure  was  conceived.  The  readmission 
of  the  three  lagging  states  of  Virginia,  Mississippi  and  Texas  a 
year  before,  marked  the  end  of  the  process.  All  of  the  wayward 
sisters  were  restored  with  state  constitutions  prescribing  equal 
negro  political  and  civil  rights.  Government  was  lodged  in 
the  hands  of  the  "Loyal" — the  negro,  the  carpetbagger,  and  the 
scalawag  ruled  over  the  land.  For  "lewd  fellows  of  the  baser 
sort"  it  was  harvest  time.  Using  a  comedy  figure  of  speech, 
"The  bottom  rail  was  on  top."  Expressed  in  tragedy,  the 
"black  heels  were  on  white  necks."  Yet  no  sooner  had  the 
inverted  statehood  pyramids  been  raised  than  they  began  to 
totter  and  crumble.  In  the  same  year  that  the  task  was  hailed 
complete,  elections  in  Virginia,  North  Carolina,  Alabama,  and 
Georgia  resulted  in  the  defeat  of  the  aliens,  scalawags,  and  freed- 
men.  The  Democrats,  or  white  men,  were  victorious  in  spite  of 
the  free  use  of  Federal  troops  and  all  the  influences  of  the  na- 
tional government;  a  use  that  was  in  North  Carolina  brutally 
tyrannical. 

1 A  biographical  sketch  of  the  author  of  this  contribution  will  be  found 
in  the  Publication  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  Vol.  VI,  p.  129. — 
EDITOR. 

(109) 


no  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Reckless  of  the  lessons  of  history,  taking  counsel  from  sectional 
malice  and  partisan  expediency,  the  radical  party  determined 
to  arrest  and  turn  back  the  flood  that  menaced  their  work  in 
the  South  with  destruction — to  buttress  governments  raised  on 
the  ruins  of  constitutional  liberty — by  laws  of  greater  stringency 
and  savagery.  The  first  note  of  warning  was  sounded  in  the 
President's  message,  December  5,  1870.  In  its  first  paragraph 
Congress  was  told  that  "a  free  exercise  of  the  elective  franchise 
has  by  violence  and  intimidation  been  denied  to  citizens  in  sev- 
eral of  the  States  lately  in  rebellion,  and  the  verdict  of  the  people 
has  thereby  been  reversed."  The  next  step  in  the  conspiracy 
aimed  at  the  Southern  States  was  a  resolution  introduced  by 
Senator  Morton,  calling  on  the  President  for  information  in  his 
possession  of  disloyal  or  evil-designed  organizations  in  North 
Carolina  which  threaten  resistance  to  law  or  denial  of  protec- 
tion by  law  and  constitutional  rights;  and  what  murders  and 
outrages  have  been  committed  for  political  purposes.  To  this 
resolution,  which  was  adopted  December  i6th,  the  President 
submitted  a  reply  January  13,  1871.  "For  the  information  of 
the  Senate,"  the  President  broadened  the  scope  of  his  reply  to 
cover  "outrages  in  other  states." 

It  required  no  close  scrutiny  of  the  documents  accompanying 
the  President's  brief  message  to  betray  an  evil  and  sinister  pur- 
pose. The  message  reads: 

"I  transmit  herewith  abstracts  of  reports  and  other  papers  on  file  in 
the  war  department  relative  to  outrages  in  North  Carolina,  and  also,  for 
the  information  of  the  Senate,  those  relative  to  outrages  in  other  South- 
ern states.  The  original  reports  are  too  voluminous  to  be  copied  in  sea- 
son to  be  used  by  the  present  Congress,  but  are  easily  accessible  for  ref- 
erence." 

Such  was  the  introductory  to  excerpts  from  reports  filed  in 
the  war  department  of  disorders,  outrages,  and  homicides  to 
the  number  of  near  five  thousand.  To  read  the  message  with 
the  partisan  comments  on  it,  one  would  suppose  that  the 
South  was  seething  with  slaughter  and  crimson  with  crime. 
The  message  referred  to  outrage  "reports  too  voluminous  to  be 
copied."  There  was  no  suggestion  of  the  fact  that  in  answering 
an  enquiry  as  to  existing  conditions,  the  sum  total  had  been 
made  up  by  ransacking  the  dust  covered  war  department  pigeon 
holes,  clear  back  to  1865.  While  the  trick  was  soon  exposed, 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  1 1 1 

the  wrong  of  the  guilty  lie  could  not  be  undone.  It  paved  the 
way  and  gave  the  cue  for  the  North  Carolina  investigation, 
which  was  made  to  provide  the  argument  for  the  passage  of 
the  enforcement  act. 

The  President's  message  caused,  as  designed,  a  shock  of  horror 
throughout  the  North,  for  a  time  arresting  the 'turn  of  sentiment 
which  had  been  trending  against  the  radical  Southern  policy. 
For  the  time  being  it  clouded  the  truth  of  the  Southern  condi- 
tion, which  was  at  that  time,  as  it  had  been  for  months  pre- 
viously, wholly  free  from  serious  or  organized  domestic  lawless- 
ness. To  show  this  to  be  the  fact  the  messages  of  certain  rad- 
ical governors,  cotemporary  with  President  Grant's  message, 
are  quoted  from.  Governor  Holden  of  North  Carolina  addressed 
the  legislature  as  follows: 

"We  have  cause  to  be  thankful  to  Almighty  God  for  the  abundant  har- 
vests of  the  year  (1870)  now  closing,  and  for  the  general  peace  and  quiet 
now  prevailing  throughout  the  State.  Peace  and  good  order  has  been 
restored  to  all  parts  of  the  State  with  the  exception  of  the  county  of 
Robeson." 

It  is  a  fact  of  history  that  the  peace  disturbers  of  Robeson 
County  were  a  band  of  negro  marauders  and  murderers  whom 
the  governor  "expected  would  be  soon  arrested  and  brought  to 
trial." 

In  a  communication  to  the  legislature  of  South  Carolina, 
Governor  Scott  said: 

"I  cannot  say  with  truth  upon  any  information  in  my  possession  that 
in  any  section  of  the  State  the  laws  are  not  executed,  for  not  a  single 
case  has  been  reported  in  which  the  officers  of  the  law  have  been  resisted 
in  the  discharge  of  their  duties.  There  is  no  insurrection  which  I  am 
called  on  to  suppress.  All  the  cases  of  reported  violence  are  individual 
violations  of  law." 

Governor  Clayton  of  Arkansas,  said  in  his  message  of  January 
4,  1871: 

"You  assemble  here  under  very  propitious  circumstances.  Our  rela- 
tions with  the  Federal  Government  are  harmonious  and  law  and  order, 
peace  and  security,  reign  throughout  our  borders." 

Governor  Warmoth  of  Louisiana,  said  in  his  message  of  Jan- 
uary ii,  1871: 

"A  growing  spirit  of  harmony  and  good  will  between  the  different  classes 
of  our  people  has  been  strikingly  evinced  during  the  last  year.  It  has 


ii2  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

been  seen  in  a  strongly  pronounced  disposition  of  all  good  citizens,  with- 
out respect  to  partisan  differences,  to  preserve  order  and  enforce  the 
laws.  The  result  has  been  that  during  the  last  fall  there  was  the  most 
quiet  and  peaceable  election  the  State  has  witnessed  for  many  years." 

In  Georgia  there  had  been  an  exciting  election  but  no  violence. 
The  Democratic  majority  °f  legislative  members  were  awarded 
certificates  of  election  by  Governor  Bullock  in  January,  1871. 
There  had  been  no  election  in  Mississippi  in  1870.  During  that 
entire  year  the  State  had  been,  consequently,  free  from  excite- 
ment and  disorder.  Governor  Alcorn's  message  to  the  legis- 
lature when  it  assembled  the  second  week  in  January,  1871,  was 
a  long,  loud  pagan  in  praise  of  the  complete  vindication  and 
triumph  of  reconstruction.  "Evil  auguries  anticipated  your  last 
assemblage.  They  are  hushed  now  into  silence."  In  a  subse- 
quent message  he  said:  "The  State  generally  enjoys  a  repose 
unknown  to  it  since  the  close  of  the  war."  A  month  before  the 
President's  message  the  Washington  Republican  said: 

"Governor  Alcorn  is  thoroughly  in  earnest  in  the  work  of  reconstruct- 
ing Mississippi  and  in  executing  the  laws.  Opinions  need  not  be  governed 
by  occasional  acts  of  violence,  which  occur  everywhere.  Personal  and 
political  rights  are  nowhere  more  sacred  or  more  securely  protected  than 
in  Mississippi  by  law." 

Why  North  Carolina  was  singled  out  for  an  investigation  is 
explained  by  the  circumstances  of  the  election  in  that  State,  in 
August,  1870.  In  the  whole  reconstruction  carnival  of  guilt 
and  crime,  that  chapter  is  probably  the  blackest  of  all.  The 
election  was  for  a  legislature  and  congressmen.  As  there  was 
a  large  white  Republican  element  in  the  western  part  of  the  State, 
and  a  heavy  negro  population  in  the  eastern,  an  apparent  drift 
toward  Democratic,  or  white,  rule  was  met  by  the  most  ruthless 
and  tyrannical  measures  of  repression.  Federal  troops  not  being 
forwarded  as  promptly  as  he  desired,  and  not  being  available 
for  the  extremes  of  action  he  designed,  Governor  Holden  raised 
two  regiments  of  State  troops;  one  white  under  a  notorious 
ruffian  of  East  Tennessee,  Colonel  Kirk,  and  one  negro.  The 
paramount  aim  of  the  Governor  and  his  party  was  to  produce 
the  impression  that  the  State  was  overrun  by  the  Ku  Klux. 
To  that  end  testimony  was  obtained  through  terrifying  and  even 
torturing  witnesses.  In  certain  counties  arrests  were  made  by 
wholesale  and  in  violation  of  law.  Colonel  Kirk,  with  the  ap- 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  113 

proval  of  Governor  Holden,  defied  habeas  corpus  writs  issued  by 
the  chief  justice  of  the  State.  The  condition  of  terror  and  tyr- 
anny prevailing  just  before  the  election  was  thus  described  in 
the  Wilmington  Journal: 

"To-day  throughout  this  broad  State  no  man  is  safe  in  his  property, 
his  liberty,  or  his  life.  The  civil  law  is  a  dead  letter.  The  authority  of 
the  chief  justice  is  derided,  offensively  scorned  by  an  unauthorized  mil- 
itary official." 

Some  of  the  prisoners  arrested  secured  release  by  turning 
State's  evidence  against  the  Klan.  The  chief  scene  of  Colonel 
Kirk's  operations  was  in  Alamance  and  Caswell  Counties.  James 
Boyd,  a  citizen  of  the  former,  not  only  confessed  he  had  been  a 
Ku  Klux,  but  that  Andrew  Johnson  was,  while  President,  the 
head  center  of  the  band.  This  preposterous  statement  was 
repeated  by  Holden  in  his  testimony  before  the  investigating 
committee  of  Congress.  The  confessions  and  revelations  of  the 
Ku  Klux  were  converted  into  a  defense  of  Holden's  oppressive 
acts,  and  of  his  call  for  troops  at  the  election.  Every  murder 
was  multiplied  into  many  and  charged  up  to  the  Klan.  The 
piece  de  resistance  in  a  bloody  shirt  banquet  served  up  for  the 
Northern  palate  was  a  letter  from  the  noted  author,  Judge 
Albion  Tourgee,  to  Senator  Abbott — both  North  Carolina  carpet- 
baggers. After  it  had  served  its  purpose  in  the  bloody  indict- 
ment against  North  Carolina,  the  judge  complained  that  his 
figures  had  been  changed.  In  a  letter  to  the  editor  of  the  New 
York  Tribune  he  said: 

"I  wrote  four  arsons  instead  of  fourteen.  Instead  of  4,000  or  5.°°° 
houses  opened,  I  wrote  400  or  500.  I  said  thirteen  murders  in  the  State, 
not  in  the  district." 

He  further  said  that  of  the  murders  he  had  reported,  "State 
Senator  Stephens  and  two  colored  men  were  alive  and  all  right." 
There  was  abundance  of  proof  after  the  election  that  Governor 
Holden's  operations  against  the  K.  K.  K.  was  wholly  a  campaign 
device  to  provoke  resistance.  Confessions  were  made  that  some 
of  the  arsons  and  acts  of  violence  were  perpetrated  by  his  sup- 
porters with  that  view.  Senator  Abbott's  dependence  for  re- 
election on  the  legislature  chosen  supplied  the  motive  for  his 
wicked  multiplication  of  Tourgee 's  men  in  buckram. 


H4  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

In  noting  Tourgee's  belated  correction  of  Senator  Abbott's 
forgery,  the  Tribune  said,  after  the  election  was  over: 

"It  is  shown  that  the  Ku  Klux  are  few  in  number  and  have  created  ter- 
rorism only  because  of  the  timidity  of  those  opposing  them.  Exposure 
has  made  the  organization  ridiculous  and  substantially  its  strength  is 
gone." 

The  Tribune  had  been  an  extremist  in  denouncing  the  North 
Carolina  "Ku  Klux  outrages."  Its  open  confession  permits  the 
belief  that  it  had  been  honestly  deluded  as  to  the  Holden-Tour- 
gee  version  of  affairs  in  that  State.  Its  acknowledgment  of 
delusion  was  published  prior  to  the  Morton  resolution  of  investi- 
gation, which  was  the  seed  from  which  sprang  the  enforcement 
act.  After  the  election  Kirk's  Ku  Klux  prisoners  were  all 
brought  before  Judge  Brooks  of  the  United  States  district  court, 
whose  authority  Holden  and  his  ruffian  henchmen  dared  not 
defy,  and  upon  investigation  of  the  charges  against  them  all  were 
released.  These  exposures  and  contradictions  of  Governor 
Holden's  Ku  Klux  theory  all  came  out  before  Congress  met. 
It  was  in  spite  of  them,  and  of  the  testimony  that  the  South  was 
free  from  violence  and  disorder  that  the  radical  leaders  decided 
upon  applying  the  North  Carolina  tactics  more  thoroughly  and 
on  a  broader  scale.  It  was  determined  to  work  off  on  the  North- 
ern voters  the  original  Tourgee  picture,  in  spite  of  its  disproof. 
The  purpose  was,  from  a  partisan  standpoint,  a  vital  one. 
There  was  not  alone  fear  of  losing  the  South,  but  the  defection 
of  Northern  Republicans  of  prominence  and  influence  caused 
great  apprehensions  of  the  result  of  the  national  election  in  1872. 
The  North  Carolina  Democratic  victory  proved  too  signal  to  be 
figured  away.  This  was  the  direct  motive  for  the  Morton  reso- 
lution, to  create  ground  for  seating  the  defeated  radical  candi- 
dates for  Congress  and  the  legislature,  and  to  arrest  Holden's 
impeachment.  The  purpose  was  broadened  as  revealed  in  the 
President's  message  of  January  13,  1871,  which  forecast  the 
enforcement  act. 

The  guilt  or  fatuity  of  the  pretense  of  the  North  Carolina  in- 
vestigation is  even  more  conclusively  established,  through  the 
reports  of  the  officers  of  the  United  States  troops  in  the  State 
during  the  Holden-Kirk  outrage  campaign.  Colonel  Hunt,  the 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  115 

commander  of  the  district,  said  in  an  official  communication 
from  Fort  Adams,  January  2,  1871: 

"Evidences  of  the  existence  of  such  organizations  was  produced. 
Nearly  all  the  cases  inquired  into  proved,  however,  that  other  than 
political  purposes  were  effected  through  these  organizations  whose 
machinery  was  used  to  punish  thefts,  burglaries,  insults  to  women,  and 
other  offenses  in  no  way  connected  with  politics.  In  fine  their  principal 
work  seemed  to  be  to  do  the  work  of  regulators,  or  vigilance  committees. 
Bad  enough  in  themselves,  these  crimes  were  in  the  bitterness  of  party 
feeling  exaggerated  and  misrepresented.  To  what  extent  murders  and 
outrages  were  for  political  purpose  I  am  not  in  a  position  to  state.  For 
when  the  legislature  passed  laws  to  punish  members  of  secret  organiza- 
tions they  were  to  a  great  extent  if  not  wholly  dissolved  and  this  before 
I  assumed  command  of  the  district." 

Lieut.-Col.  R.  O.  Frank  reported  to  Raleigh,  July  3,  1870: 

"The  marshal  at  once  applied  for  a  military  force,  as  he  had  done  in 
the  previous  case,  without  making  any  effort  on  his  own  part  to  make 
the  arrests.  I  explained  to  him  that  an  ffort  to  execute  the  laws  by  the 
civil  authority  should  be  made,  as  otherwise  the  necessity  for  military 
force  was  not  apparent.  Under  these  circumstances  I  thought  the 
presence  of  troops  would  prevent  the  necessity  for  their  use,  and  therefore 
telegraphed,  although  it  did  not  appear  to  me  imperatively  necessary, 
nor  that  the  civil  authorities  had  exhausted  all  other  measures." 

Again  he  writes,  July  22,  1870: 

"The  Governor,  however,  beli  ves  that  in  the  progress  of  events  an 
effort  will  be  made  to  get  possession  of  the  prisoners  now  in  custody,  or 
who  may  hereafter  be  arrested,  and  in  that  event  he  thinks  an  attempt 
would  first  be  made  to  get  possession  of  the  State  armory.  Though  not 
fully  concurring  in  these  apprehensions,  I  would  suggest,  if  it  be  intended 
to  use  the  United  States  troops  in  aid  of  the  State  authorities  in  such  a 
contingency,  that  a  detachment  from  the  company  at  Fort  Johnson  be 
sent  to  this  post  to  serve  the  two  light  twelve  pounders  which  I  have." 

Major  J.  Stewart  writes  from  headquarters,  Fort  Macon, 
North  Carolina,  December  28,  1870: 

"Since  Ifliave  been  in  command  of  this  post  this'portion  of  the  State 
has  been  very  quiet  and  undisturbed,  nor  can  I  learn  that  there  are  any 
organizations  of  the  kind  referred  to  in  this  vicinity." 

Capt.  Evan  Thomas,  at  "Headquarters,  Post  of  Lumberton, 
N.  C.,  December  30,  1870,"  says: 

"The  cause  of  the  trouble  in  this  county  is  in  no  way  political.  A 
band  of  outlaws,  six  in  number,  have  been  for  the  period  of  four  years 
hiding  in  the  numerous  swamps  that  traverse  this  county  in  every  direc- 
tion and  robbing  and  murdering  the  citizens.  They  have  committed, 
since  the  spring  of  1868,  four  murders  in  this  county,  and  about  as  many 
more  in  the  adjacent  counties.  *  *  *  They  are  mulattoes  and  have 


n6  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

almost  as  many  friends  as  enemies.     They  have  friends  partly  from  fear 
of  them  and  friends  who  are  suspected  of  helping  them  in  their  acts." 

Capt.  Frank  G.  Smith,  under  date  "Headquarters,  Post  of 
Raleigh,  N.  C.,  December  30,  1870,"  reports: 

"I  have  the  honor  respectfully  to  state  that  except  through  the  news- 
paper press,  common  rumor  and  published  official  documents  emanating 
from  the  civil  authorities,  nothing  pertinent  to  the  subject  of  inquiry 
has  come  to  my  knowledge." 

Capt.  John  Mendenhall  from  "Headquarters  Post,  Fort  John- 
son, N.  C.,  December  31,  1870,"  writes: 

"I  have  the  honor  to  report  that  there  is  no  organized  body  of  disloyal 
or  evil-disposed  men  in  this  immediate  section  of  the  State.  In  this 
county  (Brunswick)  and  New  Hanover  (in  which  is  the  city  of  Wilming- 
ton) the  people  so  far  as  I  know  or  can  learn  are  good,  peaceable,  law 
abiding  citizens." 

Major  George  B.  Rodney,  writing  from  Yanceyville,  July  30, 
1870,  says: 

"Colonel  Kirk,  who  is  in  command  of  the  militia,  appears  to  fear  an 
attack,  and  has  made  great  preparations  for  defense  by  barricading  the 
courthouse,  doubling  his  guards  and  posting  a  strong  force  of  pickets; 
and  his  whole  cause  for  alarm  is  some  foolish  reports  given  out  by  negroes. 
*  *  *  Wednesday  when  a  man  named  Williamson  tried  to  serve  some 
writs  on  Kirk,  the  long  roll  was  sounded  and  all  citizens  ordered  to  leave 
the  public  square  on  penalty  of  being  fired  into.  I  think  there  were 
exactly  four  men  present.  I  do  not  hesitate  to  assure  you  that  there  is 
no  fear  of  any  disturbance  between  the  citizens  and  military  unless  Kirk 
provokes  them  to  it,  and  it  seems  to  me  he  has  been  endeavoring  to  do  so 
ever  since  he  has  been  here." 

Again,  August  14: 

"I  have  fears  of  an  outbreak.  Colonel  Kirk  is  either  endeavoring  to 
create  a  disturbance  between  the  people  or  my  men  and  his  own  troops 
in  order  to  justify  his  recent  conduct.  His  men  roam  around  the  country 
and  pillage  and  insult  the  people  with  impunity,  and  some  threaten  to 
attack  my  men." 

Capt.  Frank  G.  Smith,  under  date  of  August  8,  1870,  writing 
from  Ruffin,  says: 

"I  have  the  honor  to  report  for  the  information  of  the  post  commander 
that  since  my  arrival  here  on  the  2gth  ult.,  when  I  found  an  exciting 
political  contest  going  on  among  the  citizens  of  the  vicinity,  which  was 
prosecuted  with  vigor  by  both  parties  until  election  day,  the  4th  inst., 
not  a  single  case  of  riot  or  disturbance  has  been  brought  to  my  notice 
up  to  this  time.  I  am  informed  by  all  the  persons  with  whom  I  have 
conversed  on  the  subject  that  no  political  campaign  here  has  ever  been 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  117 

conducted  with  more  order  than  that  so  recently  concluded.     The  dis- 
position to  assist  and  submit  to  the  civil  authorities  seems  general." 

This  is  the  testimony  of  officers  of  the  army  who  went  to  North 
Carolina  to  uphold  Governor  Holden  and  the  administration. 
They  were  scattered  all  over  the  State,  and  if  they  had  any  par- 
tiality at  all  it  was  on  the  side  of  the  Federal  authority.  Yet 
they  all  concur  in  representing  that  peace  and  order  were  almost 
universal,  and  that  the  only  interruption  was  that  of  negro  out- 
laws. It  is  not  necessary  to  add  comment  to  such  conclusive 
proof  of  the  wickedness  of  those  striving  to  excite  agitation. 
It  was  in  spite  of  this  mass  of  contradictory  evidence  that  the 
President's  message  with  its  fictitious  murder  exhibits  was  sub- 
mitted to  the  Senate.  A  committee  for  a  Southern  investiga- 
tion to  begin  on  North  Carolina  was  ordered,  after  earnest  oppo- 
sition from  the  Democratic  minority.  Commenting  on  the  in- 
vestigation proposed,  the  New  Orleans  Times  thus  stated  its 
design : 

"The  appointment  of  this  committee  is  said  to  have  been  prompted  in 
a  caucus  of  radical  leaders  assembled  to  deliberate  upon  the  prospects 
of  the  party.  It  was  there  admitted  that  the  control  of  four  or  five 
Southern  States  was  necessary  to  success  at  the  next  election  and  usur- 
pation was  boldly  advocated. 

This  forecast  was  sustained  by  every  cotemporary  circum- 
stance, and  substantiated  by  events.  During  the  debate  and  the 
taking  of  testimony  Washington  literally  swarmed  with  South- 
ern carpetbaggers  and  scalawags  from  Georgia,  Alabama,  North 
Carolina,  and  other  Southern  States,  with  livid  stories  of  out- 
rage, to  induce  Congress  to  give  them  new  leases  on  their  offices, 
which  were  passing  from  them.  Scores  of  witnesses  to  back  up 
the  scheme  were  summoned  before  the  Morton  committee,  sit- 
ting at  Washington.  March  10,  1871,  two  committee  reports 
were  submitted.  The  majority  declared  that  "the  Ku  Klux 
organization  does  exist  and  is  composed  of  members  of  the 
Democratic  or  conservative  party,  with  a  political  purpose 
.  which  is  sought  to  be  carried  out  by  murders,  whipping,  intimi- 
dation, and  violence  against  opponents."  There  was  no  mis- 
taking the  logic  of  this  report.  It  pointed  direct  to  further  and 
more  repressive  legislation. 

The  minority  report  by  Senators  Blair  of  Missouri  and  Bayard 
of  Delaware,  joined  issue  with  that  of  the  majority  with  extreme 


n8  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

severity.  In  conclusion  it  was  declared  that  "Grossly  and  wil- 
fully as  the  number  of  outrages  were  exaggerated,  no  act  of  law- 
lessness had  been  proven  except  in  six,  perhaps  eight,  of  the 
eighty -seven  North  Carolina  counties."  And  that  "the  evidence 
overwhelmingly  established  the  untruth  of  the  charges  of  an- 
archy in  the  State."  In  the  following  the  real  motive  of  the 
proceeding  was  exposed: 

"If  aggressive  laws  are  to  be  enacted  let  all  disguise  be  cast  off  and  the 
truth  avowed.  It  will  not  be  less  violent  or  wrong,  but  it  will  be  less 
hypocritical  and  more  manly.  To  every  fair  minded  man  we  commit  the 
proof  contained  in  the  testimony  now  presented  by  the  committee,  and 
that,  in  the  face  of  such  wrongs  as  have  been  inflicted  upon  the  unfortu- 
nate and  crushed  people  by  the  rulers  placed  over  them,  not  by  their 
own  consent,  but  by  the  exercise  of  despotic  power  by  Congress,  no 
example  of  equal  submissiveness  and  patient  endurance  can  be  found  in 
history  as  is  now  presented  by  the  people  of  the  State  of  North  Carolina. 
This  is  the  truth  in  a  nutshell.  Holden  and  his  official  supporters  have 
failed  to  maintain  themselves  by  any  means,  fair  or  foul.  They  appealed 
to  a  popular  election  and  they  were-  rejected  with  something  near  una- 
nimity by  every  taxpayer  in  the  State.  And  now  Congress  is  asked  to 
step  in  and  force  North  Carolina  down  again  under  the  feet  of  her  late 
radical  masters." 

The  next  move  in  the  radical  campaign  was  thus  forecast  by 
the  Cincinnati  Commercial,  at  this  time  the  leading  paper  of 
the  middle  West  and  Republican  in  politics,  in  a  comment  upon 
the  committee  reports: 

"A  deliverance  is  now  expected  from  the  President  on  the  necessity  of 
additional  legislation  for  protection  of  the  loyal  people  in  the  Southern 
States.  The  carpetbagger  looks  to  Congress  continually.  Latterly  the 
carpetbaggers  are  becoming  important.  In  many  cases  they  are  indis- 
pensable. The  President's  possibility  of  renomination  rests  with  the 
carpetbaggers.  If  they  should  be  against  him  his  last  chance  would 
vanish.  The  intense  solicitude  of  the  President  for  the  safety  of  the  loyal 
men  in  the  South  means  anxiety  to  secure  the  carpetbag  vote." 

The  "deliverance"  was  forthcoming  March  23,  1871,  when  the 
President  transmitted  a  message  to  Congress  reading  as  follows: 

"A  condition  of  affairs  now  exists  in  some  of  the  States  of  the  Union 
rendering  life  and  property  insecure  and  the  carrying  of  the  mails  and  the 
collection  of  revenues  dangerous.  The  proof  that  such  a  condition 
exists  is  now  before  the  Senate.  That  the  power  \o  correct  these  evils 
is  beyond  the  control  of  the  State  authorities  I  do  not  doubt ;  that  the 
power  of  the  executive  acting  within  the  limits  of  existing  law  is  suffi- 
cient for  present  emergencies  is  not  clear.  Therefore  I  urgently  recom- 
mend such  legislation  as  in  the  judgment  of  Congress  shall  effectively 
secure  life,  liberty  and  property  and  the  enforcement  of  the  laws  in  all 
parts  of  the  United  States." 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  119 

The  day  before  this  menacing  message  was  issued,  the  career 
of  North  Carolina's  miscreant  Governor,  W.  W.  Holden,  was 
terminated  by  his  impeachment.  He  was  removed  from  office 
before  the  enforcement  act,  to  which  the  crimes  of  his  govern- 
ment of  North  Carolina  led  up,  was  passed.  One  of  the  counts 
on  which  he  was  adjudged  guilty  was  the  refusal  to  obey  a  writ 
of  habeas  corpus,  issued  by  the  Chief  Justice  of  North  Carolina, 
for  the  release  from  jail  of  a  number  of  the  men  held  on  Ku 
Klux  charges.  He  was  voted  guilty  on  other  counts,  one  being 
for  "unlawfully  recruiting  a  large  body  of  troops  from  this  State 
and  the  State  of  Tennessee,  and  placing  them  in  command  of 
Kirk  and  other  desperadoes  from  the  State  of  Tennessee." 

The  President's  message  of  March  23d  was  immediately  suc- 
ceeded by  the  appointment  of  a  joint  committee  to  "inquire 
into  the  condition  of  the  late  insurrectionary  States,  so  far  as 
regards  the  execution  of  the  laws  and  the  safety  of  the  lives  and 
property  of  the  citizens  of  the  United  States,  with  leave  to  report 
at  any  time  during  the  next  or  any  subsequent  session  of  Con- 
gress, with  such  recommendations  as  they  may  deem  exped- 
ient," etc. 

The  act  in  compliance  with  the  President's  request  as  stated 
in  his  message,  was  introduced,  debated  and  finally  passed  April 
20,  1871.  It  is  known  as  the  Ku  Klux,  or  Enforcement  Act,  and 
reads  as  follows: 

"An  Act  to  enforce  provisions  of  the  i4th  amendment  to  the  Constitu- 
tion and  for  other  purposes. 

"Be  it  enacted  *  *  *  That  any  person  who  under  color  of  any 
law,  statute  or  ordinance,  regulation,  custom  or  usage  of  any  State  shall 
subject  or  cause  to  be  subjected  any  person  within  the  jurisdiction  of 
the  United  States  to  the  deprivation  of  any  rights,  privileges  or  immuni- 
ties secured  by  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  *  *  *  be  liable 
to  the  party  injured  in  action,  lawsuit,  etc.,  in  equity  or  other  proper 
proceeding  for  redress,  such  proceedings  to  be  prosecuted  in  the  several 
District  or  Circuit  Courts  of  the  United  States,  with  and  subject  to  the 
same  rights  of  appeal,  review  upon  error  and  other  remedies  provided  in 
like  cases  in  such  courts  under  provisions  of  the  Act  of  April,  1866,  entitled 
'An  Act  to  protect  all  persons  in  civil  rights,'  etc. 

"SECTION  2.  That  if  two  or  more  persons  within  any  State  or  Territory 
of  the  United  States  shall  conspire  together  to  overthrow,  or  to  put  down 
or  destroy  by  force  the  government  of  the  United  States,  or  to  bring  war 
against  the  United  States,  or  oppose  by  force  the  government  of  the 
United  States,  or  by  force,  intimidation  or  threats  to  prevent,  limit  or 
delay  the  execution  of  any  law  of  the  United  States,  or  by  force  to  take, 
secure  or  possess  any  property  of  the  United  States  contrary  to  the 
authority  thereof;  or  by  force,  intimidation  or  threat  to  induce  any 


I2O  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

officer  of  the  United  States  to  leave  any  State,  district  or  place  where 
his  duties  as  an  officer  might  lawfully  be  performed,  or  to  injure  him 
in  his  person  or  property,  on  account  of  his  lawful  discharge  of  the  duties 
of  his  office;  or  to  injure  his  property  so  as  to  molest,  hinder,  interfere 
with  or  impede  him  in  the  discharge  of  his  official  duty;  or  by  force, 
intimidation  or  threat  to  deter  any  party  or  witness  in  any  cause  of  the 
United  States  from  attending  such  court,  or  from  testifying  in  any  mat- 
ter pending  in  said  court  fully  and  truthfully;  or  to  injure  any  such  per- 
son or  witness  in  his  person  or  property  on  account  of  his  having  so  at- 
tended or  testified ;  or  by  force,  intimidation  or  threat  to  induce  to  influ- 
ence the  verdict,  presentment  or  indictment  of  any  juror  or  grand  juror 
or  grand  jury  of  any  court  of  the  United  States;  or  to  injure  such  juror 
in  his  person  or  property  on  account  of  any  verdict,  indictment  or  pre- 
sentment lawfully  assented  to  by  him  on  account  of  his  being  or  having 
been  such  juror;  or  shall  conspire  together  or  go  in  disguise  upon  the 
public  highways  or  premises  of  another  for  the  purpose  either  directly 
or  indirectly  of  depriving  any  person  or  any  class  of  persons  of  equal  pro- 
tection of  laws,  or  equal  privileges  or  immunities  under  the  laws,  or  for 
the  purpose  of  preventing  or  hindering  the  constituted  authorities  of 
any  State  from  giving  or  securing  to  all  persons  in  such  State  equal  pro- 
tection in  the  laws,  for  the  purpose  of  in  any  manner  impeding,  hindering, 
obstructing  or  defeating  the  due  course  of  justice  in  any  State  or  Terri- 
tory, with  the  intent  to  deny  any  citizen  of  the  United  States  due  and 
equal  protection  of  the  laws;  or  to  injure  any  person  in  his  person  or  his 
property  for  lawfully  enforcing  the  right  of  any  person  or  class  of  persons 
to  the  equal  protection  of  law;  or  by  force,  intimidation  or  threat  to 
prevent  any  citizen  of  the  United  States  lawfully  entitled  to  vote  from 
giving  his  support  or  advocacy  in  any  lawful  manner  toward  or  in  favor 
of  the  election  of  any  qualified  person  as  an  elector  for  President  or  Vice- 
President  of  the  United  States  or  as  a  member  of  Congress  of  the  United 
States;  or  to  injure  any  such  citizen  in  his  person  or  his  property  on 
account  of  such  support  or  advocacy,  each  or  any  person  so  offending 
shall  be  deemed  guilty  of  high  crime,  and  upon  conviction  thereof  in  any 
District  or  Circuit  Court  of  the  United  States,  or  District  or  Supreme 
Court  of  any  Territory  of  the  United  States  having  similar  jurisdiction 
of  similar  offenses,  shall  be  punished  by  a  fine  of  not  less  than  five  hundred 
nor  more  than  five  thousand  dollars,  or  by  imprisonment  with  or  with- 
out hard  labor,  as  the  court  may  determine,  for  a  period  of  not  less  than 
six  months  nor  more  than  six  years,  or  by  both  such  fine  and  imprison- 
ment, as  the  court  may  determine;  and  if  any  one  or  more  persons 
engaged  in  such  conspiracy  shall  do  or  cause  to  be  done  any  act  in  fur- 
therance of  the  object  of  such  conspiracy  whereby  any  person  shall  be 
injured  in  his  person  or  property,  or  deprived  of  having  and  exercising 
any  right  or  privilege  of  a  citizen  in  the  United  States,  the  person  so 
injured  or  deprived  of  such  rights  and  privileges  may  have  and  maintain 
an  action  for  recovery  of  damages  occasioned  by  such  injury  or  depriva- 
tion against  any  one  or  more  of  the  persons  engaged  in  such  conspiracy ; 
such  action  to  be  prosecuted  in  the  District  or  Circuit  Court  of  the  United 
States  with  and  subject  to  the  same  rights  of  appeal,  review  upon  error 
and  other  remedies  provided  in  like  causes  under  the  provisions  of  the 
Act  of  April  9,  1866,  etc. 

"SECTION  3.  That  in  all  cases  where  insurrection,  domestic  violence, 
unlawful  combinations  or  conspiracies  in  any  State  shall  so  obstruct  or 
hinder  the  execution  of  the  laws  thereof  so  as  to  deprive  any  portion  or 
class  of  the  people  in  such  State  of  any  rights,  privileges  or  immunities 
or  protection  named  in  the  Constitution  and  secured  by  this  Act,  and 
the  constituted  authorities  of  such  State  shall  either  be  unable  to  pro- 
tect, or  shall  from  any  cause  fail  in  or  refuse  protection  to  the  people  in 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  121 

such  rights,  such  facts  shall  be  deemed  a  denial  by  such  States  of  the 
equal  protection  of  the  laws  to  which  they  are  entitled  under  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States  and  in  all  such  cases  or  wherever  such  in- 
surrection, violence,  unlawful  combination  or  conspiracy  shall  oppose 
or  obstruct  the  laws  of  the  United  States  or  the  due  execution  thereof, 
or  impede  or  obstruct  the  due  course  of  justice  under  the  same,  it  shall 
be  lawful  for  the  President,  and  it  shall  be  his  duty,  to  take  such  measures 
by  the  employment  of  the  military  and  naval  powers  of  the  United  States, 
or  of  either,  by  such  means  as  he  may  deem  necessary  for  the  suppression 
of  such  insurrection,  domestic  violence  or  combinations;  and  any  per- 
sons who  shall  be  arrested  under  the  provisions  of  this  and  preceding 
sections  shall  be  delivered  to  the  marshal  of  the  proper  distnct,  to  be 
dealt  with  according  to  law. 

"SECTION  4.  That  wherever  in  any  State  or  part  of  State  the  unlawful 
combinations  named  in  the  preceding  sections  of  this  Act,  shall  be  organ- 
ized and  armed  and  so  numerous  and  powerful  as  to  be  able  by  violence 
to  either  overthrow  or  set  at  defiance  the  constituted  authority  of  such 
State  or  the  United  States,  within  such  State,  or  where  the  constituted 
authorities  are  in  complicity  with  or  shall  connive  at  the  unlawful  pur- 
poses of  such  powerful  and  armed  combination,  and  wherever  by  reason 
of  either  or  all  the  causes  aforesaid  the  conviction  of  such  offenders  and 
the  preservation  of  the  public  safety  shall  become  in  such  districts  un- 
practicable,  in  every  such  case  such  combination  shall  be  deemed  rebellion 
against  the  government  of  the  United  States,  and  during  the  continuance 
of  such  rebellion  and  within  the  limits  of  the  district  under  the  sway 
thereof,  it  shall  be  lawful  for  the  President  of  the  United  States,  when 
in  his  judgment  the  public  safety  shall  require  it,  to  suspend  the  privi- 
leges of  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  to  the  end  that  such  rebellion  may  be 
overthrown;  provided  that  all  the  provisions  of  the  second  section  of 
'An  Act  relating  to  habeas  corpus,  etc.'  approved  March  3,  1863, 
be  in  force  so  far  as  the  same  are  applicable  to  the  provisions  of  the  sec- 
tion. *  *  *  Provided  that  the  provisions  of  this  section  shall  not 
be  in  force  after  the  end  of  the  next  regular  session  of  Congress. 

"SECTION  5.  That  no  person  shall  be  a  grand  or  petit  juror  in  any 
court  of  the  United  States  upon  inquiry  bearing  upon  the  trial  of  any 
suit,  proceeding  or  prosecution  based  on,  upon  or  arising  under  the  pro- 
visions of  this  Act,  who  shall,  in  the  judgment  of  the  court,  be  in  com- 
plicity with  any  such  combination  or  conspiracy.  Every  such  person 
shall,  before  entering  upon  any  such  inquiry  bearing  on  the  trial,  take 
and  subscribe  an  oath  in  the  open  court  that  he  has  never  secretly  or 
indirectly  counseled,  advised  or  voluntarily  aided  any  such  combination 
or  conspiracy;  and  each  and  every  person  who  has  taken  this  oath  and 
shall  thereon  swear  falsely  shall  be  guilty  of  perjury  and  shall  be  subject 
to  the  pains  and  penalties  declared  against  that  crime  in  the  first  section 
of  an  Act  entitled  An  Act  *  *  *etc.,  approved  June  17,  1862. 

"SECTION  6.  That  any  person  or  persons  having  knowledge  that  any 
wrongs  conspired  to  be  done  and  mentioned  in  the  second  section  of  this 
Act  are  about  to  be  committed,  and  having  power  to  prevent  or  aid  in 
preventing  the  same,  shall  neglect  or  refuse  so  to  do,  and  such  wrongful 
act  shall  be  committed,  such  person  or  persons  shall  be  liable  to  the  per- 
son injured,  or  his  legal  representatives,  for  all  damage  caused  by  the 
wrongful  act  which  such  first  named  person  or  persons  by  reasonable 
diligence  could  have  prevented,  and  such  damages  may  be  recovered  in  any 
action  in  the  case  in  any  proper  court  of  the  United  States;  and  any 
number  of  persons  guilty  of  such  wrongful  neglect  or  refusal  may  be 
joined  as  defendants  in  said  action.  Provided  that  such  action  shall  be 
commenced  within  one  year  after  such  cause  of  action  shall  have  occurred. 
And  if  the  death  of  any  person  shall  be  caused  by  any  such  wrongful 


122  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

act  and  neglect  the  representatives  of  such  deceased  person  shall  have 
such  action  thereto  as  may  recover  not  exceeding  $5,000  damages  therein 
for  the  benefit  of  the  widow  of  such  deceased  person,  if  any  there  be;  or 
if  there  be  no  widow,  for  the  benefit  of  the  next  kin  to  such  deceased 
person. 

"SECTION  7.  Nothing  herein  contained  shall  be  construed  to  supersede 
or  repeal  any  former  act  or  law,  except  so  far  as  the  same  may  be  repug- 
nant thereto,  and  any  offenses  heretofore  committed  against  the  tenor 
of  any  former  act  shall  be  prosecuted,  and  any  proceeding  already  com- 
menced for  prosecution  shall  be  continued  and  completed  the  same  as  if 
this  act  had  not  been  passed,  except  so  far  as  the  provisions  of  this  act 
may  go  to  sustain  and  validate  such  proceedings." 

The  true  design  of  this  law,  which  was  obnoxious  to  all  prin- 
ciple and  precept  of  American  representative  government,  was 
thus  exposed  in  an  address,  dated  the  day  of  its  passage,  from 
the  Democratic  members  of  Congress  to  the  people  of  the  United 
States : 

"Our  presence  and  official  duties  at  Washington  have  enabled  us  to 
become  fully  acquainted  with  the  actions  and  desires  of  those  who  con- 
trol the  radical  party,  and  we  feel  called  on  to  utter  a  few  words  of  warn- 
ing against  the  alarming  strides  they  have  made  toward  the  centrali- 
zation of  power  in  the  hands  of  Congress  and  the  executive.  No  regard 
for  the  wise  restraints  imposed  by  the  Constitution  has  checked  their 
reckless  and  desperate  career.  The  President  of  the  United  States  has 
been  formally  announced  as  a  candidate  for  re-election.  The  partisan 
legislation  to  which  we  refer  was  designed  and  shaped  in  secret  caucus, 
where  the  extremest  counsels  dominated  and  was  adopted  to  place  in 
the  hands  of  the  President  the  power  to  command  his  own  renomination, 
and  to  employ  the  army  and  navy  and  militia  at  his  sole  discretion  as 
a  means  of  subserving  his  personal  ambition.  *  *  *  Under  the  pre- 
tense of  passing  laws  to  enforce  the  i4th  amendment  and  for  other  pur- 
poses, Congress  has  conferred  the  most  despotic  powers  upon  the  execu- 
tive and  provided  the  official  machinery  by  which  the  liberties  of  the 
people  are  menaced  and  the  sacred  right  of  self-government  in  the  States 
ignored  if  not  tyrannically  overthrown.  They  are  at  variance  with  all  the 
sanctified  theories  of  our  institutions. 

"Under  the  Enforcement  Act  the  executive  may  at  his  discretion 
thrust  aside  the  government  of  any  State,  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas 
corpus,  arrest  its  Governor,  disperse  the  legislature,  silence  its  judges, 
and  trample  down  its  people  under  the  heel  of  the  troops.  Nothing  is 
left  to  the  citizens  or  State  which  can  be  called  a  right.  All  is  changed 
into  mere  subservance.  *  *  *  Everything  that  malicious  iniquity 
could  suggest  has  been  done  to  irritate  the  people  of  the  Southern  States. 
The  gross  and  exaggerated  charges  of  disorder  and  violence  owe  their 
origin  to  the  mischievous  minds  of  the  political  managers  in  the  Senate 
and  House  of  Representatives,  to  which  the  executive  has,  we  regret 
to  say,  lent  his  aid  and  thus  helped  to  inflame  popular  feeling.  In  all 
the  causes  of  hostile  legislation  and  harsh  resentment  no  word  of  con- 
ciliation, of  kind  encouragement  or  fraternal  fellowship  has  ever  been 
spoken  by  the  President  or  by  Congress  to  the  people  of  the  Southern 
States.  They  have  been  addressed  only  in  language  of  proscription." 

Opposition  to  this  "force  bill"  was  not  limited  to  Democrats. 
None  spoke  more  strongly  against  it  in  the  Senate  than  Senators 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  123 

Schurz  and  Trumbull.  In  the  House,  General  James  A.  Garfield, 
subsequently  President,  joined  in  denouncing  it.  It  was  com- 
bated most  urgently  by  the  liberal  press.  At  a  public  enter- 
tainment in  New  Orleans,  the  commander  of  the  army,  Gen. 
W.  T.  Sherman,  said  of  the  avowed  pretext  of  the  act: 

"I  probably  have  as  good  means  of  information  as  most  persons,  in 
regard  to  what  is  called  the  Ku  Klux.  I  am  perfectly  satisfied  the  thing 
is  greatly  overestimated.  If  Ku  Klux  bills  were  kept  out  of  Congress  and 
the  army  kept  at  their  legitimate  duties,  there  are  enough  good  men  in 
the  South  to  put  down  all  Ku  Klux  or  other  marauders." 

Having  secured  the  law  and  possessing  the  machinery  under  it, 
the  radical  leaders  were  little  concerned  about  mere  declama- 
tory hostility. 

No  feature  of  reconstruction  has  been  so  misunderstood  and 
misstated  as  the  Ku  Klux  facts — the  motives  and  causes  pro- 
ducing the  order,  its  purposes  and  deeds.  As  it  was  conceived 
in  mystery  and  moved  in  darkness,  exaggeration  and  error  is 
natural  on  the  part  of  those  who  write  its  history.  It  requires 
both  actual  acquaintance  with  the  period  and  close  sifting  to 
free  the  grains  of  truth  from  the  chaff.  Reflected  through  Re- 
publican and  carpetbag  glasses,  there  was  a  Ku  Klux  in  every 
bush,  every  deed  of  violence  was  set  down  to  the  Klan.  As  to 
the  origin  of  the  order,  its  blood  curdling  rituals,  its  awe-inspir- 
ing titles  and  gruesome  insignia  and  signs,  there  is  substantial 
agreement  of  narration.  The  facts  are  comprised  in  a  recent 
letter  published  in  the  Montgomery  Advertiser,  from  Prof.  Walter 
L.  Fleming  of  the  University  of  West  Virginia,  and  author  of  a 
valuable  History  of  Reconstruction  in  Alabama.  It  is  in  part 
as  follows: 

"Mr.  Thomas  Dixon  says  that  the  Klan  proper  began  at  Pulaski,  Tenn., 
as  a  social  club  of  young  men,  and  spread  thence  over  parts  of  the  South. 
This  is  borne  out  by  the  testimony  of  the  founders  of  the  order,  one  of 
whom  Captain  John  C.  Lester  (who  lived  a  few  years  ago  at  Sheffield, 
Alabama),  wrote  in  collaboration  with  Rev.  D.  L.  Wilson,  of  Pulaski, 
Tennessee,  a  history  of  Ku  Klux  Klan.  Mr.  Dixon  gets  his  main  facts 
as  to  the  beginnings  from  this  history.  Other  members  have  placed 
themselves  on  record.  I  quote  from  a  letter  written  by  one  of  the 
founders,  Major  James  R.  Crowe,  now  of  Sheffield,  Alabama:  'The  origin 
of  the  order  had  no  political  significance.  It  was  at  first  purely  social 
and  for  our  amusement.  It  only  required  a  quaint  garb  and  a  few 
mysterious  sounds  to  convince  the  unitiated  (the  negroes)  that  we  were 
spirits  from  another  world.  We  were  quick  to  catch  on  to  this  idea,'  and 
hence  came  the  change  to  a  body  of  regulators.  The  Lester  and  Wilson 


134  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

history  says  the  same  and  describes  the  spread  of  the  order  into  other 
States. 

"As  to  the  origin  of  the  name,  one  of  the  founders  stated:  'A  committee 
composed  of  Richard  R.  Reed,  Calvin  Jones  (his  brother,  Charles  P. 
Jones  lived  in  Birmingham,  Alabama,  a  few  years  ago,  and  his  daughter, 
Miss  Cora  R.  Jones,  wrote  a  sketch  of  the  Klan  in  The  Advance  Magazine 
last  year),  was  appointed  to  select  a  name  for  the  organization.  The 
Greek  for  circle  was  chosen.  We  called  it  Ku-klos,  which  was  changed 
to  Ku  Klux  afterward.  John  Kennedy  suggested  that  we  add  another 
K,  and  the  order  was  then  called  Ku  Klux  Klan.'  Lester  and  Wilson 
give  a  similar  account  of  the  origin  of  the  name. 

"Mr.  Sheehan,  in  stating  that  there  were  numerous  local  orders,  some 
of  which  later  were  merged  into  larger  ones,  is  certainly  correct,  and  just 
here  he  touches  upon  Mr.  Dixon's  weak  point  historically.  Mr.  Dixon 
is  inclined  to  notice  only  one  great  order,  Ku  Klux  Klan,  and  ascribe  all 
results  to  that  order.  There  were  several  larger  ones,  such  as  Pale  Faces, 
Knights  of  the  White  Camelia,"  etc. 

The  oath  of  the  order,  as  printed  in  the  majority  report  of  the  con- 
gressional committee,  reads  as  follows: 

"  'I,  —  — ,  of  my  own  free  will  and  accord,  and  in  the  presence  of 

Almighty  God,  do  solemnly  swear  (or  affirm)  that  I  will  not  reveal  to 
any  one  not  a  member  of  the  *  *  *  by  any  intimation,  sign,  sym- 
bol, word  or  act,  or  in  any  other  manner  whatever,  any  of  the  secrets, 
signs,  grips,  passwords,  mysteries,  or  purposes  of  the  - 
or  that  I  am  a  member  of  the  same,  or  that  I  know  of  any  one  who  is  a 
member,  and  that  I  will  abide  by  the  precepts  and  edicts  of  the  *  *  * 
so  help  me  God.'  " 

Conceived  in  jest,  the  K.  K.  K.  was  soon  turned  to  sterner 
purposes.  In  his  testimony  General  Forrest  said: 

"If  Ku  Klux  ever  existed  in  Tennessee  it  was  on  account  of  Brown- 
low's  1867  proclamation,  saying  to  the  militia  that  they  would  not  be 
molested  for  outrages  and  punishment  of  rebels  and  because  of  apprehen- 
sion of  injury  to  persons  and  property." 

Contemporary  with  the  time  of  the  birth  of  the  Ku  Klux  in 
Tennessee,  as  above  stated,  in  1865  and  1866,  in  the  months  im- 
mediately after  the  war,  there  were  local  "night  ridings,"  some- 
times in  disguise,  in  a  number  of  Mississippi  counties  to  detect 
and  punish  violators  of  law,  such  as  stealing  cotton  and  mules. 
They  were  limited  to  particular  occasions  and  as  civil  authority 
became  established  they  ceased.  There  was  a  slight  recrudes- 
cence, only,  in  the  political  agitation  and  race  excitement  after 
the  reconstruction  acts  were  passed.  This  was  for  protection, 
and  it,  too,  was  local  in  organization.  There  were  some  installa- 
tions in  this  period,  1867  and  1868,  of  the  Ku  Klux  Klan,  in  a 
few  of  the  Northern  counties.  But  this  was  attended  by  no 
activity  and  it  died  out  and  disappeared  entirely  after  the  defeat 
of  the  constitution  in  1868. 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  125 

Irrefutable  and  conclusive  proof  has  been  cited  in  claiming 
that  the  law  of  1871  originated  in  a  conspiracy  of  radical  leaders 
to  serve  the  purpose  of  perpetuating  Republican  negro  rule  in 
the  Southern  States,  which  was  threatened  with  overthrow. 
It  will  be  more  particularly  shown  that  at  the  time  it  was  de- 
signed and  proposed,  the  State  of  Mississippi  was  not  only  free 
from  organized  resistance  to  the  laws,  or  combinations  for  that 
purpose,  but  from  any  excessive  prevalence  of  disorders  or  vio- 
lence. The  then  Governor  of  the  State,  James  L.  Alcorn,  is 
quoted  in  proof  of  this  on  a  preceding  page.  But  toward  the 
close  of  the  year  1870  there  were  symptoms  of  disorder  and  vio- 
lence in  several  Northeastern  counties,  which  were  thus  referred 
to  in  his  message  to  the  Legislature,  January  8,  1871: 

"In  apprehension  of  organized  resistance  of  the  law  in  eastern  counties 
of  the  State,  I  took  steps  for  the  organization  of  the  militia  in  these 
counties." 

What  he  had  done  was  to  send  Major-General  E.  Stafford,  a 
'pot-valiant'  carpetbagger  and  editor  of  the  official  journal,  and 
"Colonel"  Ireland,  commonly  styled  "Big  Yaller,"  to  organize 
companies  of  whites  and  blacks  respectively.  After  perform- 
ing that  duty,  on  paper,  to  the  extent  of  adding  fuel  to  the  fire 
of  race  animosities,  the  doughty  pair  had  rendered  an  expense 
account.  This  was  of  doubtful  validity,  as  related  in  the  mes- 
sage, "the  auditor  of  public  accounts  labors  under  some  diffi- 
culty as  to  the  obligation  resting  on  him  under  my  certificate  of 
account  presented  by  the  paymaster.  He  appears  to  think  that 
while  I  am  authorized  by  law  to  call  out  the  militia,  I  can  do  so, 
but  require  his  consent  to  pay  the  bills."  It  was  upon  this  issue 
that  the  Legislature  was  appealed  to.  The  response  was  an  ap- 
propriation of  $3,000  for  "expenses"  for  the  militia  organizers. 

In  Mississippi  nothing  whatever  had  occurred  to  warrant 
"apprehension  of  organized  resistance  to  the  law."  Disorders 
which  were  augmented  by  the  Governor's  menacing  message 
might  safely  have  been  left  to  correction  of  local  authority  and 
local  sentiment.  This  was  so  apparent  that  the  genuineness  of 
his  professed  apprehension  was  questioned.  There  was  the 
obvious  motive  behind  his  zeal  against  a  mythical  "organized 
resistance  of  law,"  of  making  himself  secure  in  his  strange  and 
repellant  affiliations  against  his  own  people.  By  treating  them 


ia6  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

like  outlaws  and  providing  against  the  dreaded  white  political 
uprising,  he  sought  to  disarm  the  distrust  of  the  carpetbaggers. 
Apprehension  of  resistance  was  chronic  with  Governor  Alcorn. 
In  his  inaugural  he  had  asked  for  extraordinary  powers  as  com- 
mander-in-chief  of  the  militia.  He  wanted  "a  militia  estab- 
lishment in  the  interests  of  a  strong  government." 

The  effect  of  proclamations  and  declamations  against  the 
Southern  white  people  by  the  radical  chiefs  at  Washington  and 
Jackson,  the  introduction  of  force  bills  to  hold  them  in  subjec- 
tion to  alien  and  negro  officials,  could  have  but  one  effect  upon 
the  negro  masses.  Day  by  day  they  became  more  hostile  and 
vindictive  toward  the  white  people.  Such  evil  influences  and 
teachings — torches  touched  to  an  inflamed  condition — were 
sure  to  cause  friction  and  violence.  The  seeds  thus  sown  sprout- 
ed in  arson  and  bloodshed  at  Meridian,  March  4th  and  6th.  The 
riot  caused  great  excitement.  Circuit  Judge  Leachman  con- 
vened court  and  had  an  exhaustive  investigation,  Governor 
Alcorn  employing  special  counsel  to  represent  the  State.  The 
result  was  the  placing  under  bond  to  appear  before  the  grand 
jury  of  half  a  dozen  white  men.  But  this  did  not  meet  the  exi- 
gencies of  the  situation  as  viewed  by  the  radicals.  In  the 
twinkling  of  an  eye  the  worthlessness  of  Alcorn's  militia  prepara- 
tions, the  weakness  of  the  whole  mongrel  governmental  fabric  had 
been  exposed.  To  prepare  for  a  call  for  Federal  troops  a  resolu- 
tion for  a  legislative  investigation  was  adopted.  The  testimony 
taken  fills  fifty  pages  in  the  journal  appendix,  but,  significant 
of  the  facts  disclosed,  no  report  or  recommendation  accompanies 
it.  There  was,  however,  an  appeal  to  Washington  for  troops — 
"a  good,  large  detachment"  proclaimed  the  official  organ,  March 
i5th,  "to  restrain  and  regulate  the  turbulent  and  disorderly 
bodies  who  are  now  perpetrating  the  most  damnable  abomina- 
tions and  outrages  that  have  been  recorded  for  years."  Rad- 
ical leaders  in  the  Legislature  communicated  the  situation  to 
Washington,  and  asked  the  State  delegation  to  have  the  Presi- 
dent send  troops,  which  the  Governor  would  not  ask  for.  Learn- 
ing of  this,  the  Governor  addressed  the  delegation,  protesting 
against  "dispatches  that  have  been  forwarded  to  Washington 
derogating  from  the  power  of  this  government  to  enforce  the 
law,  and  I  desire  to  correct  that  misrepresentation."  In  this 
connection  he  adds: 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  127 

"A  riot  occurred  in  Meridian,  which  was  promptly  suppressed.  Some 
minor  outrages  have  been  committed  in  other  points  on  the  Alabama 
border,  in  the  night,  by  people  in  disguise.  My  only  difficulty  is  to  dis- 
cover the  wrong  doers;  but  that  overcome,  as  I  confidently  hope  it  will 
be,  this  government  is  powerful  enough  to  make  them  tremble  for  their 
crimes." 

This  communication  was  made  the  text  for  a  speech  in  the 
Senate  by  Ames,  who  defended  the  call  for  troops.  He  assailed 
Alcorn,  charging  that  "while  every  cent  of  the  appropriation  by 
the  Legislature  to  aid  in  the  arrest  of  Ku  Klux  assassins  had  been 
drawn  out  of  the  treasury  by  the  Governor,  he  had  not  heard  of  a 
single  arrest."  This  impeachment  of  the  Governor's  loyalty  to 
party  was  echoed  by  Northern  Republican  papers— the  New 
York  Tribune  saying  it  had  been  "led  to  conclude  that  Governor 
Alcorn  had  little  wish  or  design  to  suppress  the  Ku  Klux  in  Mis- 
sissippi, but  is  largely  responsible  for  the  demoralization  of  the 
party  which  elected  him  as  an  exponent  of  Republican  prin- 
ciples." The  Washington  Chronicle,  the  President's  organ,  prob- 
ably got  nearer  the  Governor's  susceptibilities.  Endorsing 
Ames'  attack,  it  threw  out  a  threat  that  Alcorn  might  not  be 
allowed  the  seat  in  the  Senate,  to  which  he  had  been  elected. 
This  would  have  suited  Ames,  who  not  only  felt  overshadowed 
by  Alcorn,  but  there  was  intense  dislike  felt  by  each  for  the  other. 
A  letter  Ames  wrote  a  negro  member,  which  added  fuel  to  the 
fire  of  Alcorn 's  fury, was  published.  Bearing  date  March  27, 
1871,  it  read: 

"I  send  you  a  copy  of  my  speech.  You  see  I  take  issue  with  the  Gov- 
ernor. I  talk  as  I  did  when  I  held  his  place.  It  seems  to  me  that  were 
I  in  his  place  now  I  would  give  protection,  as  I  did  then,  and  not  have  my 
friends  killed  by  tens  of  hundreds,  as  they  are  now  being  killed.  I  think 
he  is  guilty  of  a  great  sin.  I  can  have  no  sympathy  with  a  man  who 
gains  power  or  favor  as  he  does  with  the  Democracy  at  the  price  of  blood 
and  that  the  blood  of  his  friends.  A.  AMES." 

The  Governor  replied  to  these  attacks  savagely,  in  an  inter- 
view in  a  New  York  paper.  But  in  just  a  week  from  his  dispatch 
saying  that  "the  State  government  was  powerful  enough  to  make 
wrong  doers  tremble,"  it  was  announced  that  he  had  asked  for 
troops,  and  that  they  were  on  the  way  to  the  State;  to  be  fol- 
lowed by  a  regiment  of  cavalry,  if  it  could  be  spared  from  the 
Southwest. 

The  attempt  to  turn  this  Meridian  riot  to  partisan  uses,  to 
trace  it  to  a  Ku  Klux  source,  calls  for  a  history  of  its  origin  and 


ia8  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

outline.  It  happened  in  the  very  nick  of  time  for  radicalism, 
when  there  was  both  utmost  need  and  least  material  for  making 
out  a  case  against  "the  late  insurrectionary  States."  It  was 
shown  in  the  investigation  that  the  disorders  incident  to  the 
Alabama  election  had  driven  some  negroes  across  the  line  into 
the  eastern  counties  of  Mississippi.  Farm  labor  being  much  in 
demand,  certain  Sumter  County  farmers  sent  a  negro  named 
Adam  Kennard  to  Meridian  to  persuade  or  trap  their  absconded 
tenants  to  return.  Having  made  one  trip  with  some  success, 
Kennard  had  returned.  He  was  taken  from  his  bed  at  night  in 
Meridian,  carried  out  of  town  and  severely  whipped  by  masked 
men.  The  next  day  he  made  an  affidavit  under  the  State  Ku 
Klux  law  of  1870,  against  a  white  negro  school  teacher  named 
Price,  and  his  assistant,  a  negro  named  Warren  Tyler.  Both  of 
them  had  lived  in  Sumter  County,  Alabama,  which  they  left  for 
the  same  reason — the  carpetbag  defeat — that  the  negroes  Ken- 
nard was  after,  had.  It  was  a  curious  circumstance  and  an 
ironic  one  that  the  first  arrests  under  the  Mississippi  Ku  Klux 
law  of  1870,  and  the  first  claim  of  Alcorn's  proclamation  reward 
of  $5,000,  grew  out  of  the  Ku  Kluxing  of  a  Democratic  negro  by 
a  band  of  disguised  negroes,  led  by  a  white  and  a  negro  radical. 
The  arrest  of  Price  and  Tyler  created  a  sensation  and  much 
excitement  and  loud  talk  by  their  negro  followers.  The  exam- 
ining trial  was  set  for  Saturday,  February  nth.  Before  the 
day  arrived  Price  was  defiant  and  threatening.  He  was  reported 
as  saying  that  if  convicted  and  committed  he  and  his  crowd 
"would  begin  shooting." 

The  Meridian  Gazette  said: 

"It  is  asserted  and  the  statement  comes  pretty  straight,  that  Price, 
the  Grand  Cyclops  of  the  negro  Ku  Klux,  says  he  will  not  go  to  jail  nor 
give  another  bond.  Governor  Alcorn's  attention  was  called  to  the  situ- 
ation by  the  Gazette,  and  he  was  advised  to  take  charge  of  the  examina- 
tion. But  he  did  not,  and  matters  went  from  bad  to  worse  unchecked." 

Price's  violent  talk  getting  abroad,  on  the  day  of  the  trial 
some  forty  or  fifty  white  men  came  from  over  the  border  to  see 
that  Kennard  had  a  fair  showing.  The  examination  was  post- 
poned "on  account  of  absent  witnesses,"  it  was  alleged. 

The  Gazette  said  in  a  succeeding  issue: 

"There  was  an  unusual  amount  of  disorder  in  the  city  on  Saturday, 
and  a  very  unnecessary  display  of  firearms.  It  was  feared  at  one  time 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  129 

that  there  would  be  a  serious  disturbance  between  the  whites  and  blacks. 
The  negroes  were  reported  to  have  arms  stored  in  a  certain  house  in 
town,  and  were  certainly  greatly  excited.  The  most  of  the  excitement 
no  doubt  grew  out  of  the  Price  case,  about  which  the  negroes  seem  greatly 
concerned." 

The  Meridian  Mercury  thus  commented  on  the  incident: 

"We  heard  some  of  our  citizens  talking  considerably  about  Alabamians 
coming  here  Sunday  evening  with  Adam  Kennard,  and  carrying  shot 
guns  and  other  arms.  They  had  a  right  to  come,  and  would  have  been 
fools  to  come  without  arms.  Will  anybody  dare  say  that  there  was  any 
protection  here  for  Adam  Kennard  by  the  civil  authorities  or  by  citizens, 
that  he  could  dare  to  trust  himself  to  without  known  and  tried  friends 
with  arms  in  their  hands?" 

To  add  to  the  bad  blood  the  Alabama  party  "arrested"  several 
of  their  fugitive  laborers  and  carried  them  back  with  them.  In 
consequence  of  the  menacing  condition  prevailing,  the  county 
Republican  officials  prevailed  on  Price  to  forfeit  his  bond  and 
leave  Meridian. 

Up  to  this  stage  of  the  matter  the  white  citizens  of  Meridian 
had  not  been  involved  in  the  issue.  But  the  departure  of  Price, 
instead  of  ending  the  trouble,  intensified  it.  It  was  resented  by 
the  mayor,  a  white  carpetbagger,  an  appointee  of  Ames,  named 
Sturgis.  He  had  proved  a  thorn  in  the  flesh  of  the  white  citi- 
zens already,  and  now  used  the  Price  expulsion  to  inflame  the 
negroes.  His  chief  abettors  were  Bill  Clop  ton,  the  captain  of  a 
negro  militia  company,  and  the  negro  who  had  been  Price's 
assistant  teacher,  Warren  Tyler.  On  Saturday,  March  4th,  a 
meeting  of  negroes  was  addressed  at  the  courthouse  by  these 
three  men  and  a  negro  preacher  and  member  of  the  Legislature, 
Aaron  Moore.  Their  speeches  were  threatening  and  violent. 
Long  tolerance  made  the  leaders  very  bold.  Pistols  were  dis- 
played and  the  Rev.  Moore  warned  Meridian  to  beware  of  the 
fate  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah.  The  meeting  adjourned  and  short- 
ly afterwards  the  fire  alarm  rang  out.  The  citizens  running  to 
the  fire  found  the  streets  thronged  with  turbulent  negroes. 
Captain  Clopton's  company  was  drawn  up  under  arms.  He 
ordered  the  negroes  to  let  the  town  burn,  and  none  of  them  could 
be  induced  to  fight  the  fire.  With  beat  of  drum  and  imprecating 
vengeance  on  the  white  men,  the  negro  militia  company  was 
marched  through  the  principal  streets.  While  they  fired  on 
several  men  no  one  was  hurt  and  their  leader,  with  other  turbu- 


130  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

lent  negroes,  was  arrested  after  a  body  of  white  citizens  assembled 
and  placed  themselves  under  charge  of  the  carpetbag  sheriff, 
who  had  been  afraid  to  proceed  against  the  negro  rioters.  The 
city  then  became  quiet.  The  fire  had  inflicted  losses  estimated 
at  $150,000. 

Believing  that  the  fire  had  been  kindled  designedly  and  that 
the  design  contemplated  slaughter,  the  feeling  of  the  white  citi- 
zens was  almost  uncontrollable.  On  Monday  morning  there 
was  a  large  meeting  at  the  courthouse  and  resolutions  adopted 
that  bespoke  utmost  determination  to  effect  a  change.  A  com- 
mittee was  appointed  to  visit  the  Governor  to  represent  the  situ- 
ation to  him  and  request  the  removal  of  the  mayor  and  the  ap- 
pointment of  a  fit  man.  Violence  was  deprecated  and  the  meet- 
ing adjourned  after  the  appointment  of  a  committee  to  co-operate 
with  the  sheriff  in  the  suppression  of  disturbances.  The  people 
acted  with  the  utmost  forbearance  and  regard  for  the  law,  under 
the  extremest  provocation.  Had  the  resolutions  been  sterner 
what  followed  might  have  been  different.  In  the  evening  the 
trial  of  Clopton,  Moore  and  Tyler,  for  their  riotous  conduct  the 
previous  night  was  being  held  before  Justice  Bramlette,  a 
respected  white  Republican.  What  followed  is  shown  by  the 
evidence  of  witnesses  before  the  Congressional  Investigating 
Committee,  sitting  at  Washington.  Deputy  Sheriff  L.  D.  Belk 
testified : 

"I  had  just  left  the  court  room  and  gone  into  the  sheriff's  office;  heard 
the  words  'damn  liar'  and  then  report  of  a  pistol ;  ran  into  the  court  room 
and  saw  Tyler  standing  with  pistol  in  threatening  position  pointing  to 
Judge  Bramlette;  did  not  see  anybody  else  with  pistol;  I  state  as  my 
belief  that  Tyler  killed  Bramlette." 

W.  C.  Ford,  who  was  representing  the  State  in  the  trial,  testi- 
fied that  an  altercation  arose  between  Tyler  and  a  witness, 
Brantley.  He  said: 

"I  told  the  witness  to  take  his  seat.  Tyler  asked  the  witness  to  get  up, 
saying:  'I  want  three  colored  men  summoned  to  impeach  your  testimony.' 
Brantley  started  forward  with  a  stick.  The  marshal  caught  hold  of 
him.  Tyler  got  up,  put  his  hand  around,  as  I  thought,  to  draw  a  pistol. 
But  somebody  then  passed  between  us  and  I  saw  him  no  more.  At  that 
instant  a  pistol  was  fired  from  the  door  leading  into  the  hall  which  led  to 
the  sheriff's  office.  That  was  in  the  direction  of  Tyler  when  I  last  saw 
him." 

C.  L.  Sherman,  a  practicing  physician,  testified: 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  131 

"I  was  in  the  court  room  when  the  affray  began,  sitting  about  six  feet 
from  Judge  Bramlette.  I  saw  Tyler  fire  the  first  shot  that  was  fired  in 
the  court  room.  The  first  shot  killed  Judge  Bramlette  and  was  fired  by 
Warren  Tyler." 

A.  R.  Wilson  testified  to  seeing  Tyler  draw  his  pistol,  present 
it  and  fire  towards  Judge  Bramlette.  This  was  the  first  shot 
fired.  J.  D.  Klein,  W.  W.  Shearer,  and  T.  H.  Winingham  testi- 
fied to  the  same  effect.  No  one  else  was  charged  with  the  first 
and  fatal  shot  but  Tyler.  Whether  he  meant  to  kill  the  witness, 
Brantley,  or  Judge  Bramlette,  there  was  no  means  of  knowing. 

In  the  inflamed  temper  of  the  people  what  followed  Bram- 
lette's  murder  was  as  natural  as  for  the  explosion  of  powder  to 
succeed  the  flash  that  fires  the  train.  Instantaneously  pistols 
were  drawn  with  deadly  intent.  In  the  fusilade  Clopton,  the 
murderer,  and  another  negro  were  killed.  Affairs  at  once  fell 
in  the  hands  of  a  large  posse  of  white  men,  acting  under  authority 
of  the  Republican  sheriff.  The  mayor,  who  in  a  subsequent  in- 
vestigation was  charged  by  the  Circuit  Judge  of  the  district  to  be 
primarily  responsible  for  the  outbreak,  was  placed  on  a  north- 
bound train  and  notified  never  to  return. 

Three  negroes,  marked  as  chronic  disturbers  of  the  peace,  were 
killed  Monday  night,  and  other  strife-stirring  negroes,  including 
the  notorious  negro  preacher  and  member  of  the  Legislature, 
Aaron  Moore,  absconded.  The  latter  found  asylum  in  his  seat 
in  the  Legislature,  finding  willing  ears  for  highly  flavored  ac- 
counts of  the  Meridian  riot  and  his  own  innocent  and  perilous 
mix-up  in  it. 

The  following  partisan  declaration  of  the  facts  of  the  riot 
appeared  in  the  Jackson  Pilot,  the  State  radical  organ: 

"The  only  comment  necessary  in  order  to  show  where  the  burthen  of 
fault  should  rest  is  to  make  the  plain  statement  that  there  was  only  one 
white  man  killed,  and  he  accidentally,  while  eight  or  ten  negroes  were 
left  on  the  field  of  massacre  weltering  in  their  blood." 

To  this  the  Meridian  Gazette  replied: 

"It  is  a  notorious  fact  that  the  people  of  this  city  have  purchased  peace 
at  the  expense,  almost,  of  self-respect.  They  have  suffered  indignity 
and  outrage  for  the  sake  of  law  and  order.  They  have  patiently  listened 
to  inflammatory  and  insulting  speeches  by  incendiary  negroes,  quietly 
witnessed  public  processions  of  lawless  men  gotten  up  for  the  purpose  of 
exciting  and  demoralizing  those  of  the  colored  population  who  were  dis- 
posed to  do  right.  They  have  not  interfered  with  the  negroes  whose 


132  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

ceaseless  annoyances  in  the  way  of  firing  at  night  has  for  months  past 
kept  women  and  children  in  a  state  of  alarm.  In  short,  they  have  en- 
dured everything  in  the  presence  of  Sturgess,  Bill  Clopton,  Price,  Warren 
Tyler  and  others.  The  simple  fact  that  these  men  have  for  two  years 
past  domineered  over  this  community  attests  our  long  suffering  and  for- 
bearance." 

While  the  Meridian  riot  was  made  to  do  service  in  carrying  the 
force  bill  through  Congress,  for  which  it  came  on  very  oppor- 
tunely, it  was  so  palpably  and  solely  provoked  by  the  wretched 
local  government  and  the  incendiary  teachings  of  local  radical 
leaders,  that  the  investigating  committee  did  not  refer  to  it  in 
the  majority  report.  Proving  that  there  was  no  possibility  of 
coloring  and  twisting  it  to  party  uses,  the  hundreds  of  pages  of 
testimony  taken  was  entirely  ignored.  The  committee  minority 
report  said: 

"The  whole  affair  was  unquestionably  attributable  to  bad  men  who 
stirred  up  strife  between  the  races  in  order  to  keep  control  of  the  negroes ; 
in  that  sense,  and  in  that  sense  only,  was  it  a  political  riot.  It  is  clear 
from  all  the  evidence  that  the  great  mass  of  the  white  people  tried  in 
every  way  possible  to  preserve  order  and  keep  the  peace.' 

Although  Governor  Alcorn  had  written  to  the  State  delegation 
in  Congress  that  "except  the  Meridian  riot,  which  had  been  speed- 
ily suppressed,  there  were  only  some  minor  outrages  on  the  Ala- 
bama border,"  he  used  all  his  influence  for  legislation  that  noth- 
ing short  of  organized  resistance  to  the  State  power  would  have 
justified.  In  response  to  his  message  recommendation,  the 
Senate  passed  a  bill  March  2oth  providing  that  the  Governor 
should  have  power  to  order  prosecution  of  any  person  charged 
with  a  felony  in  any  county  in  the  State,  in  such  other  county 
as  he  might  select.  And  that  "the  facts  on  which  prosecution 
was  directed  shall  be  held  as  true  and  not  be  subject  to  dispute 
or  denial,  and  that  when  any  indictment  shall  be  found  under  this 
act  in  any  county  other  than  that  in  which  the  offense  was  com- 
mitted, it  shall  be  kept  strictly  secret  until  the  offender  or  offend- 
ers, either  as  principal  or  accessory,  shall  have  been  arrested." 
Power  was  also  conferred  on  the  Governor  to  change  the  venue 
of  any  person  indicted,  whenever  "it  shall  appear  to  his  satis- 
faction that  a  fair  and  impartial  trial  cannot  be  had  in  the  county 
of  the  crime."  To  carry  out  its  provisions,  this  bill,  which  the 
official  organ  gave  formal  notice  that  the  Governor  favored,  car- 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  133 

ried  an  appropriation  of  $50,000.  The  Democratic  members 
filed  a  protest  against  the  enactment  of  the  mischievous  measure. 
But,  drastic  and  usurpatory  as  were  the  powers  it  devolved  on 
the  Governor,  it  did  not  go  far  enough  to  meet  his  ideas.  And 
on  April  the  first  he  addressed  the  Legislature  a  message  which 
contained  the  following  statements : 

"Recent  outrages  at  Meridian  and  a  few  other  points  on  our  eastern 
border  point  to  possibilities  which  demand  special  measures  of  detection 
and  punishment.  In  anticipation  of  such  a  necessity  I  asked  you  in  my 
annual  message  for  authority  to  deal  with  the  crimes  of  the  Ku  Klux 
by  an  offer  of  rewards  as  high  as  $25,000,  and  added  to  what  I  now  again 
earnestly  urge  upon  you — 'that  the  rewards  offered  in  any  county  shall, 
when  paid  by  the  executive,  be  made  a  special  tax  upon  that  county. 
With  the  right  to  change  the  venue  on  the  part  of  the  State  placed  in  my 
hands,  a  power  which  cannot  fail  of  effectiveness  will  have  been  set  in 
motion  with  certain  success  in  not  only  detecting  and  punishing  but  to 
a  great  extent  in  otherwise  preventing  the  outrages  of  those  midnight 
assassins." 

The  Legislature  was  further  reminded  that  it  had  not  yet  cured 
the  militia  law  of  the  defect  he  had  pointed  out,  of  settling  the 
auditor's  doubts  as  to  the  Governor's  power  to  order  payment 
of  expenses  involved  in  using  it.  He  said  further : 

"With  the  question  of  my  authority  to  order  payment  for  a  single 
saddle  or  a  cartouch  box,  the  conveyance  of  the  power  to  'organize  and 
equip  not  to  exceed  one  regiment  of  cavalry'  becomes  a  dead  letter.  I 
again  invite  the  attention  of  your  honorable  bodies  to  this  fact,  with  the 
earnest  request  that  in  addition  to  actual  authority  to  organize  the 
militia  generally  you  give  me  actual  authority  to  organize  and  call  into 
the  field  a  cavalry  regiment  of  picked  men  for  operation  wherever  masked 
assassins  shall  be  seen — the  cost  of  subsistence  of  those  troops  to  be  levied 
as  a  special  tax  upon  the  county  to  which  they  shall  have  been  called  by 
the  appearance  of  masked  assassins.  With  this  power  made  good  in  my 
hands,  outside  any  scruples  of  the  auditor  of  public  accounts,  such  tax- 
payers as  shall  dare  to  tolerate  by  their  sympathies  the  performances  of 
the  Ku  Klux  will  very  soon  find  out  that  toleration  will  have  cost  them 
heavily  in  penal  taxes." 

April  6th  the  Senate  passed  the  "picked  cavalry"  regiment  bill 
the  Governor  had  set  his  heart  on.  It  carried  an  appropriation 
of  $100,000.  The  House  hanging  fire,  the  Governor  returned  to 
the  despotic  proposition  in  a  message  May  4th,  saying: 

"I  call  your  attention  earnestly  to  the  fact  that  you  have  not  yet  sup- 
plemented those  powers  by  giving  me  authority  to  change  the  venue,  etc. 
I  trust  your  honorable  body  will  not  fail  to  pass,  before  your  adjournment, 
such  laws  as  will  enable  me  to  draw  the  Ku  Klux  assassin  from  his  hiding 
place,  and  hand  him  over  to  certain  justice." 


134  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

He  further  asked  that  pending  examination  before  a  circuit 
judge  or  chancellor  "persons  accused  of  Ku  Kluxism  shall  be  held 
in  the  county  jail  to  the  exclusion  of  any  application  for  his  en- 
largement on  bail.  This  will  remove  cases  of  so  grave  a  charac- 
ter from  the  good  nature  or  the  timidity  of  an  ordinary  magis- 
trate, to  a  magistrate  whose  learning  will  prove  a  foil  to  that  of 
counsel,  and  whose  dignity  of  position  will  overawe  the  agencies 
of  intimidation."  Thus  spurred  a  favorable  report  was  had  on 
the  bill  from  the  House  Military  Committee,  May  nth.  But 
it  failed — a  motion  to  pass  it  was  displaced  by  another  bill.  On 
the  same  day,  which  was  only  two  days  before  adjournment,  the 
House  postponed  further  consideration  of  the  change  of  venue 
bill.  It  is  palpable  that  these  measures  which  Governor 
Alcorn  so  persistently  and  insistently  urged  were  more  menacing 
to  the  lives  and  liberties  of  the  citizens  than  any  stretch  of 
national  authority.  It  was  fortunate  for  the  State  that  the  car- 
petbag auditor  refused  to  honor  warrants  for  the  expense  of 
calling  out  and  equipping  "a  picked  regiment  of  cavalry,"  with- 
out express  legislative  direction  and  authority ;  and  that  a  legis- 
lature with  a  majority  of  aliens  and  scalawags  held  back  from 
passing  a  law  so  heavily  charged  with  probabilities  of  direst  evil. 
The  message  was  referred  to  the  Judiciary  Committee  of  the 
Legislature,  but  adjournment  came  without  its  being  reported 
back.  It  was  plausibly  charged  that  the  real  purpose  of  the 
legislation  asked  by  the  Governor,  his  picked  cavalry  regiment 
and  change  of  venue  measures,  was  for  coercing  the  whites  in 
the  ensuing  election. 

Of  course  it  was  not  for  such  reason  that  a  radical  majority 
failed  on  this  bill.  But  when  the  Ku  Klux  act  was  adopted, 
April  20,  1871,  and  Federal  troops  were  provided  to  aid  the 
Federal  Court  in  prosecutions  under  it,  the  carpetbag  leaders 
felt  independent  of  Governor  Alcorn  and  chose  not  to  place  such 
power  in  the  hands  of  one  they  detested  and  distrusted,  hence 
the  picked  regiment  bill  was  dropped. 

Governor  Alcorn's  recommendation  for  legislation  so  dan- 
gerous and  odious  was  simply  atrocious.  His  message  urging 
it  reflects  a  wholly  false  view  of  the  conditions  in  Mississippi. 
In  the  1871  State  campaign,  out-Heroding  the  radical  Herods 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  135 

in  an  effort  to  justify  his  embrace  of  negro  equality  of  citizen- 
ship, he  declared: 

"Southern  people  surrendered  all  rights  of  citizenship,  all  rights  of 
property,  when  they  laid  down  their  arms.  If  the  government  had  put 
to  the  sword  every  white  man,  if  the  guillotine  had  been  moved  by  steam, 
no  voice  in  all  the  world  would  have  been  raised  in  your  behalf.  Look  at 
the  treatment  of  the  commune  by  the  French  government.  The  world 
endorses  that,  and  would  have  endorsed  similar  treatment  of  ourselves. 
What  right  have  we  to  talk  of  the  Constitution?" 

There  was  no  lack  of  hot  rejoinder  to  such  offensive  and  in- 
flammatory reviling.  The  following  resolution  adopted  in  what 
was  described  as  the  largest  meeting  of  white  men  in  Vicksburg, 
expressed  the  common  sentiment  the  Governor  aroused  against 
him  for  his  Ku  Klux  proclamation  and  his  campaign  speeches 
seeking  to  place  the  white  men  of  the  South  beneath  the  negroes 
in  the  scale  of  American  citizenship: 

"Resolved,  That  we  regard  Jas.  L.  Alcorn  as  an  open  and  avowed 
enemy  of  his  race ;  that  we  denounce  him  as  a  corrupt  tool  of  a  vindictive 
and  relentless  policy ;  as  the  friend  and  abettor  of  the  vilest  set  of  villians 
that  ever  preyed  upon  a  peaceful  people;  that  we  utterly  repudiate  and 
condemn  the  doctrine  as  enunciated  by  him  that  nothing  short  of  the 
gallows  is  a  fit  punishment  to  a  free  and  high  spirited  people;  and  that 
we  hereby  deny  that  he  is  in  any  way  a  representative  or  an  exponent  of 
the  feeling  and  sentiments  of  the  upright  and  honorable  people  of  Mis- 
sissippi." 

This  is  a  bitter  and  a  sweeping  arraignment.  But  it  cannot 
be  said  to  go  beyond  the  provocation  as  recorded. 

The  Congressional  investigating  committee  first  took  testi- 
mony in  Washington.  The  first  of  the  Mississippi  witnesses  was 
called  June  8th  and  the  last  August  4,  1871.  The  greater  por- 
tion of  the  testimony  taken  at  this  time  was  relative  to  the 
Meridian  riot.  As  already  stated,  this  yielded  the  committee 
no  valuable  material.  A  sub-committee  was  appointed  to  take 
testimony  at  certain  Southern  interior  points.  But,  over  the 
protests  of  the  minority,  the  committee  majority  made  up  its 
report  upon  the  testimony  taken  at  Washington.  Thus  con- 
sideration of  evidence  subsequently  taken,  directly  disproving 
much  of  that  on  which  the  report  was  based,  was  cut  off.  Mis- 
sissippi was  calumniated  and  condemned  on  the  word  of  wit- 
nesses afterwards  proved  to  be  without  reputation  or  standing 
at  home.  Some,  the  chief  indeed,  were  indicted  criminals. 
Logically  the  Congressional  investigation  should  have  preceded 


136  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

the  enforcement  act.  The  reversal  of  the  order  was  the  equiv- 
alent of  hanging  first  and  trying  afterwards.  Logically,  after 
the  act  was  passed,  on  the  presumption  of  the  guilt  of  "the  late 
insurrectionary  States,"  there  was  no  reason  for  the  investiga- 
tion. Logic,  however,  gave  way  to  partisan  strife.  The  opera- 
tion of  the  act  and  the  report  of  the  investigation  were  needed 
simultaneously  to  check  the  tendency  in  the  North  to  revolt 
against  the  reconstruction  practices. 

The  sub-committee  had  for  its  minority  member  Senator 
Frank  P.  Blair  of  Missouri.  It  convened  at  Macon,  in  Noxubee 
County,  November  6th.  Testimony  was  taken  here  until  the 
9th,  when  the  committee  began  taking  testimony  at  Columbus. 
On  November  i8th  the  taking  of  testimony  was  closed,  and  the 
sub-committee  adjourned.  The  political  conspiracy  theory  had 
for  its  chief  witness  and  exponent  U.  S.  District  Attorney  G. 
Wiley  Wells.  He  took  the  stand  November  ijih,  the  day  before 
final  adjournment.  His  evidence  is  quoted: 

"I  commenced  the  prosecutions  about  the  isth  of  May,  1871.  I  have 
been  engaged  continually,  traveling  or  otherwise,  prosecuting  my  duties 
day  and  night.  I  have  now  under  indictment  between  two  and  three 
hundred  persons.  I  have  under  bond  for  appearance  at  court  per- 
haps thirty-five  to  fifty.  I  have  investigated  the  matter  pretty  thor- 
oughly, I  believe.  I  have  striven  to  ascertain  the  aims  and  objects  of 
the  organization,  because  it  became  a  settled  fact  soon  after  I  began  these 
prosecutions  that  there  was  an  extensive  organization,  which  had  its 
surroundings  and  ramifications  over  a  large  portion  of  my  district.  It 
seemed  to  be  under  one  management,  or  at  least  its  different  parts  were 
co-operating.  The  aims  and  objects  I  have  also  ascertained  from  parties 
who  have  turned  State's  evidence,  and  I  have  the  most  positive  and  con- 
clusive proof  that  the  purposes  of  the  organization  were  to  carry  the 
elections  by  terrorizing  and  keeping  away  from  the  polls  the  blacks  and 
by  compelling  them  to  vote  the  Democratic  ticket.  *  *  *  We  com- 
menced a  vigorous  prosecution.  This  seemed  to  strike  terror  into  the 
organization,  and  then  it  lulled.  *  *  *  The  papers  were  teeming 
with  articles  concerning  the  Ku  Klux  bill,  and  that  seemed  to  have  the 
effect  to  suppress  them  for  the  time  being,  until  that  law  came  to  be  dis- 
cussed among  certain  lawyers  by  whom  it  was  thought  to  be  a  very  de- 
fective act.  About  that  period  the  organization  seemed  to  spring  into 
existence  again,  and  the  authorities  were  being  overpowered  in  different 
sections.  Reports  were  coming  in  asking  me  for  assistance,  and  I  started 
out  again  and  caused  the  arrests  of  large  numbers." 

Upon  the  conclusion  of  the  testimony  of  United  States  Dis- 
trict Attorney  Wells,  Senator  Blair,  the  minority  member  of  the 
sub-committee,  said: 

"In  calling  this  witness  at  this  hour  when  the  determination  of  the 
committee  has  been  arrived  at  to  adjourn  to-night,  it  is  utterly  impossible 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  137 

for  me  to  call  any  witness  in  answer  to  him,  and  in  this  the  object  of 
sending  this  committee  down  here  has  been  defeated  so  far  as  the  ends  of 
justice  and  truth  are  concerned.  This  is  done  not  only  in  the  case  of 
this  witness  but  in  the  whole  body  introduced  here  to-day  from  a  distance, 
and  that  course  has  been  pursued  at  almost  every  place  we  have  visited. 
*  *  *  If  the  ends  of  justice  were  had  in  view  I  was  entitled  to  know 
when  witnesses  were  to  be  called  from  any  part  of  the  State,  but  I  have 
never  been  allowed  to  know  it.  *  *  *  I  have  no  cross  examination 
to  make  of  the  witness." 

Held  back  until  the  close,  District  Attorney  Wells'  testimony 
had  been  very  shrewdly  contrived.  He  was  forced  by  Senator 
Blair,  on  whom  he  was  sprung  unawares,  to  admit  that  he  had 
been  in  Columbus  for  a  week  and  in  constant  consultation  with 
the  other  members  of  the  committee.  He  shaped  his  testimony 
accordingly.  So  largely  had  other  witnesses  of  his  side  been 
contradicted  and  discredited  by  circumstantial  proof  that  Wells 
testified  mainly  of  new  matter,  where  evidence  in  rebuttal  was 
not  available.  But  in  general  his  theory  of  a  political  conspiracy 
was  completely  refuted  by  testimony  previously  taken.  The 
Ku  Klux  oath  as  he  obtained  it  from  men  who  pretended  to  have 
belonged  to  the  Klan,  and  whom  he  used  as  witnesses  and  grand 
jurors  at  Oxford,  that  the  initiates  were  sworn  to  "suppress  the 
negro  and  keep  the  Democratic  party  in  control  of  the  country," 
was  shown  to  be  a  pure  invention.  A  few  instances  illustrative 
of  how  unscrupulous  United  States  Attorney  Wells  was  in  his 
prosecutions  are  cited. 

He  told  the  committee  of  the  killing  of  a  negro  named  Solomon 
Triplett,  who  was  assassinated  in  his  cabin  one  night  in  Novem- 
ber, 1870.  Wells  claimed  "conclusive  and  positive  proof"  that 
the  cause  of  the  killing  was  that  Triplett  had  voted  the  Repub- 
lican ticket  a  year  before. 

A.  K.  Davis,  afterwards  the  State's  negro  Lieutenant-Governor, 
testified  that  the  killing  was  supposed  to  be  by  a  certain  white 
man  who  coveted  Triplett's  wife.  Other  witnesses  who  lived 
in  the  vicinity  testified  to  the  same  effect,  and  none  of  them 
attributed  it  to  politics.  But  it  was  political  murder  this  com- 
mittee wanted,  and  Wells  proved  a  most  accommodating  wit- 
ness. He  told  of  a  negro  named  Turner  who  was  killed  in  March, 
1871,  "because  he  would  not  vote  the  Democratic  ticket  in 
1869."  This  palpably  false  story  was  run  into  another  to  the 
effect  that  he  had  secured  an  indictment  against  a  man  named 
Harrison,  based  on  his  remark  that  the  party  "had  killed  the 


138  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

wrong  negro,  that  it  was  not  Turner,  but  Nero,  they  wanted  to 
kill."  United  States  Attorney  Wells  claimed  that  he  obtained 
his  information  relative  to  the  purposes,  organization,  etc.,  of 
the  Klan  from  certain  members  who  had  belonged  to  it.  One 
of  these  was  John  R.  Taliaferro,  of  Noxubee  County.  This 
man,  after  being  used  as  a  witness  in  the  indictments  at  Oxford, 
testified  before  the  committee  at  Washington.  He  gave  the 
most  lurid  evidence,  perhaps,  of  all.  He  was  proved  to  be  utterly 
unreliable,  a  thief  and  worse.  One  of  the  negroes  he  swore  in 
Washington  had  been  murdered  was  proved  to  be  alive  and  un- 
harmed. While  testifying  at  Washington  and  Oxford  he  was 
a  fugitive  from  justice,  an  indicted  mule  stealer.  Worse  than 
that,  he  had  while  a  Confederate  soldier  been  guilty  of  a  most 
atrocious  murder  of  Union  soldiers.  Of  that  affair,  which  wit- 
nesses testified  he  boasted  of,  the  following  newspaper  account 
was  put  in  evidence: 

"We  had  an  intuitive  feeling  when  we  read  the  evidence  of  Taliaferro 
before  the  outrage  committee  that  he  was  the  Taliaferro  we  saw  during 
the  latter  part  of  the  war,  who  was  a  Ku  Klux,  and  coward,  and  a  mur- 
derer, for  we  helped  to  bury  one  Sabbath  afternoon,  in  the  fall  of  1864, 
at  our  old  home  in  Madison,  Georgia,  five  Yankee  prisoners  whom  he 
and  two  other  assassins  had  foully  murdered.  Well  do  we  remember 
his  telling  us  of  how  four  of  the  men  had  pleaded  for  their  lives,  telling 
him  they  were  his  prisoners,  that  they  were  soldiers,  that  they  had  their 
wives  and  little  ones  at  home,  and  that  they  ought  not  to  be  killed  for 
doing  nothing  else  than  defending  their  flag;  then  we  remember  how 
one  brave  spirit  told  him  to  kill,  that  he  was  an  infamous  hound,  desti- 
tute of  courage  and  manhood;  that  the  tied  prisoner  wanted  to  show 
him  how  a  man  could  die.  The  infamous  Taliaferro  placed  a  pistol  to  the 
heart  of  the  brave  fellow  and  fired.  Taliaferro  told  us  this  himself  before 
we  went  to  where  the  prisoners  were  dead,  and  the  facts  of  the  killing 
sustained  his  statement  of  the  butchery." 

The  witness,  Colonel  Baskerville,  who  tendered  this  paper, 
was  asked,  "Is  that  the  man?  Does  the  article  truly  express 
his  reputation?" 

"Yes,  sir,"  was  the  reply.  "I  know  nothing  of  the  circum- 
stances mentioned  in  the  article,  but  he  is  the  man  referred  to. 
I  have  heard  Taliaferro  boast  of  the  Yankees  he  had  killed.  He 
was  a  neighbor  of  mine.  He  stole  a  mule  in  April  and  left  the 
neighborhood." 

Another  of  the  witnesses  and  procurers  of  evidence  for  District 
Attorney  Wells  on  whom  he  depended  for  his  indictments  was 
a  negro  named  William  Coleman.  According  to  their  story  this 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  139 

victim  had  been  shot,  stabbed,  knocked  down  and  whipped, 
and  "all  because  he  was  a  radical  and  owned  land  and  stock." 
Mr.  Robert  Rives,  a  lawyer  of  Macon,  who  knew  Coleman,  testi- 
fied that  "he  owned  no  land  and  nothing  else;  that  he  was  a 
laborer  on  his  (Rives)  place,  and  that  the  report  was  that  Cole- 
man had  been  whipped  for  hog  stealing  by  negroes  in  his  own 
neighborhood."  Two  of  the  witnesses  for  the  government  at 
Oxford  were  Monroe  County  negroes  under  indictment  for  mur- 
der. It  was  made  apparent  in  the  committee  investigation 
that  they  testified  against  Wells'  Ku  Klux  under  threat  of  the 
penitentiary  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  boon  of  freedom  on  the 
other.  M.  A.  Metts,  a  reputable  citizen  and  ex-sheriff  of  Win- 
ston County,  testified  of  some  of  Wells'  outrage  cases.  He 
said: 

"Mordecai  Mitchell  was  whipped  because  he  harbored  negro  thieves, 
and  not  because  he  rented  land  to  negro  tenants.  Nathan  Cannon,  a 
negro  teacher,  was  whipped  for  telling  his  scholars  to  demand  race  equal- 
ity. Mose  Bird  was  not  killed — he  absconded  under  three  indictments 
for  stealing.  Jesse  Thompson  was  not  killed  'for  voting  the  Republican 
ticket — he  was  killed  in  1865  or  1866.  Allen  Bird  was  not  killed  in  con- 
sequence of  his  political  opinions.  He  was  in  jail  where  he  was  killed, 
indicted  for  attempted  rape.  George  Worth,  a  negro  preacher,  attempted 
to  raise  a  race  war  in  a  negro  meeting,  which  was  dispersed  by  the  radical 
sheriff.  Shortly  after  Worth  was  assassinated  by  two  or  three  unknown 
men." 

This  fairly  comprises  the  testimony  of  a  perfectly  reliable  wit- 
ness of  whipping  and  killing,  in  what  Governor  Powers  said  was 
the  "worst  Ku  Klux  county" — the  offenses  for  which  the  county 
was  repeatedly  raided  by  unprincipled  deputy  marshals  and 
scores  of  citizens  accused  and  carried  before  the  United  States 
Court  at  Oxford.  Mr.  Metts  testified,  and  this  will  be  recognized 
as  important  in  its  contradiction  of  the  "conspiracy  theory,"  on 
November  8,  1871: 

"On  April  6th  (1871)  a  meeting  was  held  attended  by  men  from  all 
sections  of  the  county,  and  adopted  a  resolution  condemning  the  Ku 
Klux  depredations.  Since  then  there  have  not  been  any;  everything 
has  been  quiet  since." 

This  was  early  in  1871,  and  two  weeks  before  the  passage  of 
the  Ku  Klux  law. 

One  of  District  Attorney  Wells'  grand  jurymen,  Edward  E. 
Holman,  testified  before  the  committee  concerning  the  Ku 


140  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Kluxing  of  a  man  named  Eccles,  for  which  a  batch  of  indictments 
had  been  found.  He  swore  that  Eccles,  who  was  from  Chicka- 
saw  County,  had  been  whipped  "because  he  said  he  was  not  in 
favor  of  the  Ku  Klux."  Witnesses  familiar  with  the  locality 
and  the  affair  testified  that  he  was  whipped  for  the  crime  of 
incest.  He  was  a  notoriously  bad  man.  General  Gholson  tes- 
tified that  he  had  bought  Eccles'  land  in  Monroe  County  to  put 
him  out  of  his  neighborhood  years  before,  "believing  Eccles  had 
burned  his  gin." 

It  was  with  such  tools  as  Eccles,  "a  good  Union  man,"  as  the 
grand  juror  Holman  in  his  evidence  called  him,  that  G.  Wiley 
Wells  worked.  With  a  grand  jury  of  whom  all  were  Republi- 
cans and  two-thirds  members  of  the  Loyal  League,  oath -bound 
to  obey  the  behests  of  the  radical  leaders  above  law  and  con- 
science, it  was  no  trouble  to  obtain  indictments.  His  batch 
of  deputy  marshals  would  have  disgraced  convict  stripes.  Mur- 
derers and  thieves,  they  were  sent  abroad  to  make  arrests  at 
discretion,  accompanied  by  soldiers  for  protection  in  their  vile 
work.  How  zealously  the  law  officers  of  the  government  car- 
ried out  the  scheme  of  their  party  is  to  be  read  in  a  statement 
made  by  a  negro,  one  of  half  a  dozen  K.  K.'s  arrested  in  Oktib- 
beha  County,  which  was  borne  out  by  every  corroborating  cir- 
cumstance. He  said: 

"The  Holly  Springs  jailer  worked  to  get  me  to  testify  against  the  white 
men.  When  I  told  him  I  knew  nothing  against  them  I  was  carried  before 
a  high  United  States  officer  who  worked  for  holirs  on  me.  He  told  me 
if  I  would  say  I  was  connected  with  these  men  as  Ku  Klux  I  would  not 
be  sent  to  the  penitentiary.  When  I  wouldn't  tell  because  I  knew  noth- 
ing against  them,  he  said  he  intended  to  send  me  to  the  penitentiary." 

The  prominent  United  States  official  alluded  to  was  the  carpet- 
bag United  States  District  Attorney,  G.  Wiley  Wells. 

Such  were  the  crimes  committed  under  the  pretext  of  suppress- 
ing Ku  Klux  outrages.  Col.  Charles  Baskerville  of  Noxubee 
County,  said  in  his  testimony: 

"Warrants  of  arrests  were  sent  in  blank  to  a  deputy  marshal  named 
Wissler,  a  vagabond  Dutchman,  a  murderer,  a  robber  and  a  justice  of  the 
peace.  Another  deputy  working  with  Wissler,  named  Reed,  was  accused 
of  being  a  robber  of  the  express  company." 

He  said  "the  arrests  were  for  political  purposes,  and  to  earn 
the  rewards  offered  by  Governor  Alcorn."  Of  this  precious  pair 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  141 

Reed  had  been  indicted  some  years  before  for  robbing  the  ex- 
press company,  of  which  he  was  agent,  of  $10,000.  He  was  a 
Northern  man,  and  was  arbitrarily  taken  from  custody  of  the 
civil  officials  by  order  of  the  military  governor,  General  Ames. 
In  his  trial  before  a  military  court  he  only  escaped  conviction, 
according  to  the  testimony  of  Judge  H.  L.  Jarnagin  of  Noxubee, 
who  prosecuted  him,  through  the  death  of  a  witness.  Judge 
Jarnagin  said  his  guilt  was  clear.  Wissler,  or  Whistler,  his  name 
is  printed  both  ways,  was  a  magistrate  at  Macon,  and  under  a 
number  of  embezzlement  indictments.  He  was  also  under  a 
$5,000  bond  to  answer  to  quite  a  singular  charge  of  manslaugh- 
ter. While  on  his  way  from  Oxford  to  Macon  in  charge  of  Ku 
Klux  prisoners,  Wissler  was  delayed  at  Corinth.  He  became 
acquainted  with  a  tobacco  drummer  named  Shipley,  and  they 
had  a  drinking  bout.  While  sitting  at  the  supper  table  a  coal 
oil  lamp  in  Wissler's  hands  was  thrown  or  was  upset  on  Shipley, 
and  he  was  fatally  burned.  In  a  dying  declaration  he  said 
Wissler  had  robbed  his  person  of  $500,  and  when  so  accused  had 
thrown  the  coal  oil  lamp  on  him.  The  story  was  corroborated 
by  a  waiter  in  attendance,  who  said  that  Wissler  ran  away  with- 
out making  any  effort  to  rescue  the  burning  man.  Wissler  was 
arrested  by  a  magistrate.  He  wired  Wells  who,  in  the  name  of 
Judge  Hill,  peremptorily  ordered  his  release.  As  this  did  not 
work,  Wells  sent  another  telegram  that  he  had  communicated 
with  the  attorney-general,  that  he  was  on  his  way  to  Corinth 
and  when  he  got  there  he  would  "teach  the  sheriff  a  lesson." 
He  did  have  Wissler  released,  threatening  the  magistrate  with 
arrest.  Wissler  was  subsequently  arrested  and  bound  over  as 
above  stated. 

Pending  trial  of  his  case,  and  a  few  days  before  the  congres- 
sional committee  reached  Macon,  on  the  night  of  the  election, 
Wissler  was  killed  by  a  shot  through  a  window  of  his  home.  Wit- 
nesses sought  to  make  the  impression  on  the  committee  that  he 
was  killed  to  prevent  his  testifying  before  it  as  to  Ku  Klux  crimes ; 
as  though  the  committee  did  not  have  Wells  and  Taliaferro  and 
Huggins.  The  belief  was  that  he  was  assassinated  by  some  of 
his  wife's  kin,  whom  he  had  arrested,  through  private  spite, 
under  the  blank  Ku  Klux  warrants  sent  him  to  fill  out  and  serve. 
Wissler  had  been  an  Ohio  bounty  jumper,  and  had  been  exten- 


142  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

sively  engaged  during  the  war  in  the  circulation  of  counterfeit 
Confederate  notes.  His  father  was  an  engraver  at  Richmond 
of  Confederate  notes  and  postage  stamps. 

Wissler  was  also  the  occasion  of  the  disturbance  in  the  Federal 
court  room  at  Oxford,  in  which  Col.  L.  Q.  C.  Lamar  so  promi- 
nently figured.  In  the  investigation  before  the  committee  this 
was  brought  out  and  aired  through  a  number  of  partisan  wit- 
nesses, including  United  States  Attorney  Wells.  Though  some- 
what of  a  digression,  the  circumstances  as  stated  by  two  reliable 
witnesses  before  the  sub-committee,  men  of  high  character  and 
prominence  in  their  day,  is  quoted.  Both  were  eye  witnesses  of 
the  exciting  scene.  It  was  during  the  trial  of  the  Monroe  County 
prisoners.  Col.  R.  O.  Reynolds,  one  of  the  counsel  for  these 
men  charged  with  Ku  Kluxing,  stated: 

"Colonel  Lamar  arose  and  commenced  to  address  the  court,  stating 
that  a  few  days  before  Judge  Hill  had  bound  over  the  Oktibbeha  pris- 
oners to  keep  the  peace.  That  he  desired  the  court  to  bind  over  a  man 
who  was  there  before  the  court  because  he  had  been  threatening  him, 
dogging  him  on  the  streets  of  Oxford,  as  he  believed,  for  the  purpose  of 
provoking  a  disturbance.  My  recollection  of  the  remark  is:  'I  ask  your 
honor  to  protect  me  from  the  cowardly  assassin.'  When  he  made  the 
remark  Wissler  jumped  up  and  threw  his  hand  behind  him." 

Here  Colonel  Reynolds  does  not  give  Colonel  Lamar's  words. 
But  General  Gholson,  also  a  witness  to  the  scene,  testified: 

"Lamar  ordered  Wissler  to  sit  down.  He  did  not  do  so.  Lamar  caught 
up  a  chair  and  told  him  if  he  did  not  sit  down  he  would  make  him  do  so. 
The  Judge  seemed  to  be  a  little  excited,  got  up  and  ordered  silence,  and 
ordered  the  marshal  to  keep  order.  What  went  with  Wissler  I  do  not 
know,  but  somebody  pulled  down  the  chair  that  Lamar  had  in  his  hands. 
Colonel  Reynolds  said  pretty  loudly  to  the  prisoners:  'You  Monroe  men 
sit  down.'  About  that  time  soldiers  came  to  the  door.  Lamar  was 
still  demanding  his  right  to  speak.  The  marshal  came  up  to  him  and 
spoke.  What  he  said  I  do  not  know.  Lamar  struck  him  a  pretty  hard 
lick  on  the  face  and  sent  him  reeling.  That  increased  the  excitement. 
Lamar  went  on  speaking." 

Of  the  entrance  of  the  soldiers  Colonel  Reynolds  said: 

"My  attention  was  then  directed  to  the  Federal  soldiers,  and  I  heard 
the  click  of  their  guns.  As  soon  as  I  heard  that  I  said  to  General  Feath- 
erstone:  'General,  let  us  not  let  these  soldiers  fire.'  We  went  up  to  them 
and  told  them  there  was  no  use  in  interfering,  and  they  brought  their 
guns  from  a  'ready'  to  an  'order.'  Everything  became  quiet.  Colonel 
Lamar  still  on  the  floor.  Judge  Hill  ordered  him  to  sit  down.  He  said 
he  would  not  do  it,  that  he  claimed  his  constitutional  right  to  be  heard 
and  said  something  else  which  was  handsome.  Finally  General  Feath- 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  143 

erstone  and  other  friends  led  Colonel  Lamar  into  another  room.  Every- 
thing quieted  down  and,  as  General  Gholson  said,  'we  went  on  with  our 
case.'  " 

Colonel  Lamar  was  disbarred,  to  be  restored  a  few  days  later. 
In  May's  Life  of  Lamar  the  origin  of  the  trouble  is  told  as  fol- 
lows: 

"Colonel  Lamar's  law  office  opened  on  the  same  stairway  and  passage 
of  the  Federal  court  room.  As  he  approached  it  on  this  occasion  he  found 
a  scene  of  turbulence  and  excitement.  Whistler  (Wissler)  was  beating 
a  citizen  of  the  town  named  Kelly,  an  old  man  under  the  influence  of 
liquor  and  unable  to  defend  himself.  Kelly  appealed  to  Colonel  Lamar 
for  protection,  to  which  Whistler  replied  by  swearing  at  the  Colonel. 
The  latter  applied  to  the  mayor,  whose  office  was  in  the  same  passage- 
way, to  have  the  man  arrested,  and  passed  on,  but  the  arrest  was  not 
made." 

The  deputy  marshal  in  attendance  on  the  court  arrested 
Wissler  because  the  noise  of  his  attack  on  Kelly  was  disturbing 
the  proceedings,  and  carried  both  parties  before  the  mayor. 
But  the  authority  of  that  official  was  disregarded.  Afterwards, 
seeing  the  man  at  liberty,  in  the  court  room,  Colonel  Lamar  ap- 
pealed, as  related  above  to  the  court  to  place  Wissler  under 
the  restraint  of  a  peace  bond.  For  what  ensued  the  officers  of 
the  court  were  wholly  responsible  in  employing  and  counte- 
nancing such  a  creature  as  Wissler. 

It  is  still  a  living  memory  in  Oxford  of  the  riff  raff  gang  of  ruf- 
fians G.  Wiley  Wells  had  gathered  during  this  June,  1871,  term 
of  court.  Informers  inspired  by  grievances,  grudges  and  greed, 
a  rascally  group  of  deputy  marshals,  without  reputations  or  re- 
sponsibilities, sent  abroad  to  make  arrests  upon  batches  of  war- 
rants in  blank.  To  protect  them  from  popular  indignation, 
which  was  justly  excited,  United  States  soldiers  were  sent  with 
them.  Every  fray,  whipping  or  killing,  where  a  negro  or  white 
Republican  was  the  victim,  was  treated  as  a  Ku  Klux  outrage. 
Brought  before  a  grand  jury  packed  and  picked  to  indict,  United 
States  Attorney  Wells  was  successful  in  securing,  as  he  testified, 
"between  thirty-five  and  fifty  indictments,  embracing  about 
three  hundred  men." 

These  indictments  were  all  for  offenses  committed  in  the  three 
months  between  the  middle  of  February  and  the  middle  of  May ; 
when  there  had  been  no  election  and  no  political  agitation  in 
the  State  for  a  year  and  a  half.  This  circumstance,  as  well  as  the 


144  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

facts  of  the  indictments  drawn  by  Wells,  prove  the  absolute 
falsity  of  his  evidence,  that  the  purpose  of  the  crimes  or  the 
criminals  charged  was  the  carrying  of  any  election  or  the  keep- 
ing of  the  negroes  away  from  the  polls. 

District  Attorney  Wells  testified  a  few  days  after  the  election 
in  1871.  That  was  the  next  election  held  in  the  State  after  1869. 
His  political  conspiracy  theory  is  unsustained  by  a  single  instance 
of  outrage  or  disturbance  in  the  Ku  Klux  batch  of  counties,  or 
elsewhere  in  the  whole  State,  growing  out  of  or  connected  with 
the  campaign  and  election  of  1871.  There  is  nothing  in  all  the 
testimony  or  the  facts  to  show  that  the  election  did  not  pass  off, 
so  far  as  the  white  voters  were  the  oppressors,  without  violence 
or  intimidation  whatever  at  a  single  precinct.  By  all  of  the 
witnesses  the  Ku  Klux  outrages  ceased  months  before  the  elec- 
tion; none  were  alleged  later  than  the  first  of  July. 

In  spite  of  an  earnest  and  patriotic  struggle  the  election  went 
against  the  Democrats.  The  radicals  secured  a  majority  in  both 
branches  of  the  Legislature,  but  in  the  representatives  it  was 
by  one  so  narrow  that  only  the  grossly  unfair  apportionment 
saved  it.  In  nearly  all  of  the  white  counties  local  government 
was  rescued  from  the  aliens.  Federal  troops  were  freely  used 
and  contributed  largely  to  the  result  by  keeping  up  the  intimi- 
dations of  the  Ku  Klux  campaign.  Raids  and  arrests  were  made 
on  the  most  trifling  cases  and  complaints.  On  receipt  of  news 
of  an  assassination  in  Leflore  County,  a  company  of  infantry  was 
hurried  there  from  Jackson.  At  Winona  it  was  learned  that  the 
victim  was  a  white  man  and  a  Democrat  and  his  assassins  negroes, 
whereupon  the  soldiers  were  sent  back.  The  negroes  were  voted 
solidly  as  organized  in  their  Loyal  Leagues.  Disorder  and  demor- 
alization prevailed  to  a  greater  extent  than  ever  before.  Excited 
and  inflamed  by  the  speeches  of  Governor  Alcorn  and  others,  to 
look  upon  Democratic  success  as  tantamount  to  their  reduction 
to  a  condition  approaching  slavery,  they  were  greatly  wrought 
up.  Rioting  and  violence  were  narrowly  averted  in  a  number  of 
places.  The  Governor,  who  led  the  radical  campaign,  was  met 
at  various  places  by  General  Lowry,  Colonel  Lamar,  Judge  H. 
Chalmers  and  Hon.  E.  Barksdale,  who  exposed  the  falsity  of  his 
assertions,  his  sham  and  shady  record.  A  dramatic  incident 
occurred  at  Meridian,  in  the  joint  debate  between  the  Governor 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  145 

and  Editor  Barksdale  of  the  Clarion.  From  his  seat  the  Gov- 
ernor denied  a  charge  that  the  editor  of  his  official  journal,  the 
man  he  had  appointed  Superintendent  of  the  State  lunatic 
asylum,  had  been  an  active  member  and  a  high  official  of  the 
Ku  Klux.  Barksdale  thus  met  his  denial: 

"Sir,  for  two  months  past  I  have  made  this  charge  and  Dr.  Compton 
himself  has  not  denied  it.  Now  you  have  undertaken  to  do  for  him  what 
he  has  not  done  for  himself.  To  settle  this  question  I  will  make  this 
proposition.  I  will  again  make  the  charge  and  if  Dr.  Compton  does  not 
deny  it,  or  if  he  does  deny  it  and  I  will  prove  it,  will  you  pledge  yourself 
to  dismiss  him  from  office  and  the  organship  of  your  party?"  ' 

The  offer  was  received  in  silence  and  confusion,  to  which  the 
attention  of  the  audience  was  directed  with  telling  effect.  It 
constituted  a  peculiar  aggravation  of  Governor  Alcorn's  part  in 
the  outrageous  Ku  Klux  prosecutions,  that  Dr.  Compton,  his  most 
trusted  friend  and  counsellor,  had  been  the  organizer  of  the 
order  in  his  section,  in  1867,  and  active  in  inducing  men  not  only 
in  his  own  but  adjoining  counties  to  join  it.  The  fact  had  been 
charged  and  substantiated,  in  Alcorn's  presence,  through  wit- 
nesses by  Colonel  Lamar,  at  Holly  Springs,  where  Dr.  Compton 
lived. 

While  a  great  strain  upon  the  patience  of  the  white  people  of 
Mississippi,  the  1871  election  passed,  as  above  stated,  without 
riot.  To  this  statement  there  is  just  one  exception.  A  few  days 
before  the  election,  October  2ist,  a  white  man  named  Lee  was 
brutally  murdered  by  a  negro  mob  of  nearly  a  thousand,  which 
was  being  addressed  by  the  carpetbag  county  leaders  and  candi- 
dates at  Artesia,  in  Lowndes  County.  The  affray  so  faithfully 
reflects  the  prevailing  political  condition  of  the  South  that  the 
testimony  of  two  eye-witnesses  before  the  congressional  com- 
mittee is  quoted.  Sheriff-elect  Hiram  W.  Lewis  said: 

"Mr.  Bliss,  candidate  for  the  Legislature,  had  just  got  up;  had  not 
spoken  more  than  a  sentence,  when  a  voice  was  heard  directly  on  the 
left  hand  of  my  buggy,  saying:  'Are  you  a  white  man?'  I  looked  and 
saw  it  was  a  white  man  in  the  midst  of  the  crowd,  the  only  white  man 
in  several  rods  of  the  buggy.  I  hunched  Mr.  Bliss  and  told  him  to  pay 
no  attention  and  he  kept  right  on.  In  a  minute  or  two  I  heard  the  report 
of  a  pistol  in  that  direction.  I  looked  and  saw  this  man  running.  I 
called  as  loud  as  I  could  to  let  him  go.  But  the  colored  men  took  after 
him.  One  colored  man  standing  in  the  buggy  called  as  loud  as  he  could, 
three  or  four  times  'to  catch  him.'  All  at  once  there  were  five  or  six 
shots  fired  in  rapid  succession.  He  dropped  instantly  and  was  dead. 


146  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

A  number  of  colored  men  came  to  me  that  night  and  told  me  they  saw 
him  when  he  pulled  his  pistol  and  fired  quickly  at  Mr.  Bliss  or  myself  in 
the  buggy.  They  told  me  he  began  to  fire  at  them  when  he  found  out 
he  could  not  escape." 

Dr.  Oscar  C.  Brothers  of  Artesia  testified  as  follows: 

"In  the  afternoon  my  attention  was  called  by  the  sound  of  a  drum 
and  fife  and  yelling  coming  up  the  railroad.  It  was  a  party,  numbering 
I  suppose  six  or  eight  hundred.  A  freedman,  Levi  Jones,  was  mounted 
at  the  head  of  the  column.  It  was  divided  off  in  companies,  each  having 
its  commander  riding  with  a  sword.  One  company  seemed  to  be  armed 
with  guns.  Lewis  was  about  the  center  in  a  buggy,  Bliss  in  a  carriage. 
The  speaking  began  in  front  of  the  station.  A  friend  suggested  we  get 
on  our  horses  and  ride  up  and  hear  what  they  had  to  say.  We  rode  in 
among  the  mounted  men  with  guns.  We  were  about  twenty  paces  from 
the  speakers.  After  about  three  minutes  I  saw  smoke  from  a  gun,  heard 
the  sound  and  am  satisfied  it  was  a  gun.  Then  I  heard  the  yell:  'White 
man,  kill  him,  kill  him.'  The  crowd  from  the  buggy  west  seemed  to 
shove  in  that  direction  with  one  accord,  accompanied  with  a  firing  of 
six  or  seven  guns  or  pistols.  As  soon  as  that  was  over  some  one  hollered : 
'Boys,  to  your  wagons  and  get  your  guns.'  I  saw  parties  take  three  or 
four  guns  from  a  wagon.  A  negro  took  out  a  carpet  sack  of  what  I  sup- 
posed to  be  pistols.  I  said:  'For  God's  sake  don't  take  those  pistols  out.' 
His  reply  was:  'I'll  be  damned  if  I  am  not  going  to  take  those  pistols  out.' 
I  dismounted  and  went  to  the  dead  man.  I  found  there  Mr.  Lewis  and 
Mr.  Bliss.  I  said  to  Mr.  Lewis:  'Can't  you  disperse  this  crowd?  Already 
one  innocent  man  has  been  killed.  If  you  don't  I  will  telegraph  to  Colum- 
bus and  West  Point  and  get  men  to  disperse  them.'  He  said:  'Yes,  I 
can  disperse  them.'  He  said  or  did  something  and  the  crowd  dispersed 
like  magic.  He  had  the  most  complete  control  over  the  negroes.  I  am 
no  more  afraid  of  the  negroes  than  I  am  of  you  gentlemen.  I  have  been 
raised  with  them.  But  if  Lewis  had  said:  'Kill  Dr.  Brothers,'  I  would 
have  been  killed  in  a  twinkling.  Senator,  if  he  had  said  kill  Senator 
Pratt,  it  would  have  been  enough.  But  if  they  wanted  to  borrow  a 
horse  or  a  piece  of  tobacco  they  would  not  go  to  Lewis.  They  would 
come  to  me." 

The  testimony  of  Lewis  and  Bliss  conflicted  with  that  of  Dr. 
Brothers  as  to  whether  Lee  was  armed.  Dr.  Brothers  referred 
the  committee  to  the  testimony  on  the  inquest  and  asked  to  have 
the  magistrate  and  the  other  witnesses  summoned.  He  said  its 
record  would  show  that  "one  freedman  only  testified  that  Lee 
had  a  pistol,  and  other  freedmen  and  white  men  testified  he  did 
not.  And  that  the  magistrate  threw  the  one  man's  testimony 
out." 

Circuit  Judge  Orr,  whose  court  was  in  session  and  investigat- 
ing the  Artesia  riot,  testified  that  he  "did  not  think  Lee  had  fired 
a  pistol  or  was  armed."  He  instructed  the  sheriff  to  proceed  to 
the  scene  and  make  arrests  of  those  guilty  of  the  murder,  of 
whom  the  coroner's  jury  had  returned  a  verdict  against  six, 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  147 

named,  and  others  unknown.  The  sheriff  arrested  and  jailed 
sixty-four,  including  Lewis  and  Bliss.  This  included  witnesses 
as  well  as  those  charged  with  the  crime.  "The  sheriff  informed 
me  of  what  he  had  done,"  testified  Judge  Orr,  "and  I  informed 
him  he  had  misconstrued  my  instructions.  At  once  all  but 
eleven  were  discharged."  But  this  did  not  save  the  luckless 
sheriff.  Under  the  partisan  cry  raised  he  was  summarily  re- 
moved by  Governor  Alcorn  and  hauled  off  to  Oxford  under  one 
of  G.  Wiley  Wells'  charges  of  "violating  the  Enforcement  Act." 
The  affair  created  no  little  excitement  in  Lowndes  and  adjoining 
counties — white  men  banded  and  moved  toward  Artesia,  under 
the  reports  of  danger  of  massacre  of  whites.  But  United  States 
troops  were  hurried  to  the  scene  and  they  returned  home.  The 
Columbus  Index  said : 

"All  is  quiet  along  the  Potomac  to-day,  though  last  night  we  were 
excited  by  a  report  that  500  negroes  were  marching  from  Aberdeen  to 
burn  the  city  and  release  the  prisoners  charged  with  the  Artesia  murder. 
The  negroes  are  angry  and  excited  while  the  whites  are  calm  and  ready  for 
anything  that  may  transpire." 

The  excitement  did  not  subside  with  the  conclusion  of  the 
election.  The  habit  of  parading  under  arms,  with  beat  of  drum 
and  flying  banners,  the  negroes  were  loath  to  lay  aside.  It  was 
doubly  dangerous  in  its  tantalizing  offensiveness  to  the  whites. 
In  Oktibbeha  the  nuisance  became  so  incessant  and  intolerable 
that  warrants  of  arrest  were  issued  by  a  United  States  commis- 
sioner for  the  League  leaders,  and  placed  in  the  hands  of  a  dep- 
uty United  States  marshal  to  serve.  This  caused  a  great  up- 
roar. All  the  Leaguers  of  the  county  were  gathered  to  resist 
the  arrest.  They  entered  the  little  town  of  Starkville  in  mili- 
tary array.  In  an  attempt  to  disperse  them  the  carpetbag 
sheriff,  a  brother  of  Governor  Powers,  was  badly  wounded  and 
several  negroes  were  shot.  The  whites  being  totally  unprepared 
for  strife  the  town  was  menaced  with  outrage  and  sack.  During 
the  night  armed  squads  rode  in  from  every  direction  and  afforded 
safety. 

Having  refuted  the  theory  that  the  Ku  Klux  outrages  were  the 
product  of  a  political  conspiracy,  in  the  sense  that  this  was 
charged  by  the  radicals,  it  now  remains  to  show  their  origin. 
Generally  speaking  the  disturbed  condition  was  one  of  effect 
whose  connection  with  its  causes  is  plainly  marked  and  traced. 


148  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

The  legislation  of  1870,  and  the  scandalous  performances  of 
Alcorn's  corrupt  and  conscienceless  appointees,  were  the  drag- 
on's teeth  that  sprouted  in  the  "masked  assassin."  The  county 
officials  are  thus  described  in  the  testimony  before  the  congres- 
sional investigating  committee,  of  Attorney-General  Morris,  who 
was  elected  on  the  Alcorn  ticket: 

"Sometimes  men  have  been  sent  into  a  county  with  their  commissions 
in  their  pockets,  who  were  never  in  the  county  before,  knew  nothing 
about  the  people  and  possibly  were  not  known  to  anybody  residing  there. 
The  people  had  a  natural  contempt  for  such  men.  I  had  a  contempt 
for  them  myself.  I  thought  a  mistake  had  been  made  in  this  respect. 
None  of  these  local  officers  were  elected  by  the  people.  The  Boards  of 
Supervisors  who  levied  the  county  taxes  were  appointed  by  the  Gov- 
ernor. The  Supervisors  appointed  the  school  directors.  The  people  had 
nothing  to  do  with  the  selection  of  these  officers — magistrates,  constables, 
sheriffs,  and  all  were  appointed  by  the  Governor.  These  officers  were 
often  regarded  as  being  interlopers  who  had  come  among  them  merely 
to  stay  as  long  as  they  held  office.  This  has  been  a  fruitful  source  of 
discontent." 

The  cause  of  the  disorders  in  the  group  of  counties  in  the 
eastern  part  of  the  State  at  this  time  lie  too  close  to  the  surface 
of  events  to  permit  their  perversion.  First,  there  was  a  com- 
parative failure  of  the  cotton  crop  in  1870,  which  added  to  the 
unrest.  The  excitement  of  the  Alabama  election  in  August, 
1870,  in  which  the  Ku  Klux  were  active  in  some  of  the  border 
counties,  was  felt  to  an  extent  in  the  East  Mississippi  counties. 
Then  there  came  on  the  time  for  paying  an  exorbitant  tax;  in 
some  of  these  counties  amounting  to  as  much  as  four  per  cent 
of  an  extravagant  valuation  of  properties.  Under  the  opera- 
tions of  an  act  of  the  Legislature  of  1870  changing  the  time  for 
collecting  taxes,  two  annual  collections  fell  in  that  year.  By 
far  the  largest  item  of  taxation  was  for  the  school  system,  newly 
installed. 

The  main  immediate  precipitant  and  provocation  of  the  dis- 
orders, it  is  indisputable,  was  a  school  system  primarily  designed 
for  negro  education.  To  this  the  hostility  was  general.  It  is 
quite  easy  to  moralize  against  such  a  sentiment  as  unpatriotic 
and  unwise.  But  was  there  not  a  cause,  deep  rooted  in  racial 
instinct  and  training,  and  fed  on  bad  government?  Be  this  as 
it  may,  where  discontent  ripened  into  lawlessness  the  nearest 
objects  for  it  to  be  vented  on  were  school  houses  and  school 
teachers,  some  of  the  school  houses  being  burned  and  a  number 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  149 

of  the  more  obnoxious  teachers  being  ordered  out  of  their  coun- 
ties. Some,  on  refusing  to  obey  the  order,  were  whipped.  This 
was  outrageous  and  would  have  been  punished  by  law  had  the 
citizens  controlled  the  machinery  of  law.  As  to  any  failure  in 
force  of  public  sentiment  the  historian  will  not  fail  to  give  due 
weight  to  causes  growing  out  of  the  demoralization,  the  laxity, 
of  a  diseased  State.  Under  the  warrant  of  the  testimony  taken 
the  report  of  the  minority  of  the  full  committee,  among  whom 
were  Frank  P.  Blair,  T.  F.  Bayard,  S.  S.  Cox,  Jas.  B.  Beck,  affirm 
that  dissatisfaction  with  the  establishment  of  negro  schools,  and 
the  heavy  and  arbitrary  taxation  levied  by  the  county  boards, 
under  authority  of  the  school  law  of  1870,  was  the  soil  in  which 
the  Ku  Klux  seed  sprouted.  In  referring  to  the  school  question 
this  report  says : 

"That  is  all,  or  nearly  all,  there  is  or  ever  was  of  Ku  Kluxism  in  Missis- 
sippi anywhere.  There  was  no  politics  in  it;  the  fact  that  all  or  nearly 
all  the  white  men  and  taxpayers  are  Democrats,  while  all  the  school  mas- 
ters had  to  be  radicals,  of  course,  alone  gives  it  anything  like  a  political 
aspect.  It  was  in  fact  a  struggle,  regardless  of  politics,  whether  the  white 
people  in  those  counties  should  drive  off  the  men  or  break  up  the  system 
producing  such  results."2 

Location  of  the  cause  in  the  State  school  law  by  the  minority 
report  is  corroborated  by  that  of  the  majority,  which  reads  that 
"in  addition,  however,  to  the  general  characteristics  of  Ku  Klux 
proceedings  elsewhere,  those  in  Mississippi  are  marked  by  the 
development  of  most  decided  hostility  to  all  free  schools,  and 
especially  to  free  schools  for  colored  children."* 

The  committee  majority,  which  never  rose  above  partisan- 
ship, quotes  the  State  school  law  and  asked,  was  there  "any  rea- 
sonable pretext  for  opposition  to  it?"  The  law  was  the  least  of 
it.  Every  teacher  of  a  negro  school,  supported  at  the  expense  of 
the  white  people,  was  a  radical  tool  and  emissary  to  excite  race 
hatred  among  the  negroes.  And  as  to  the  burthen,  the  law's 
limitations  of  annual  taxation  for  school  purposes  was  no  crite- 
rion of  cost,  under  the  Mississippi  custom  of  issuing  warrants. 

The  minority  committee  report  thus  illustrated  the  possibili- 
ties of  plunder  under  the  State  school  system: 

2  See  Report  of  Committee,  page  378. 
'See  Report  of  Committee,  page  73. 


150  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

"Take  the  school  house  and  school  teacher's  tax  as  described  by  Mc- 
Bride,  in  Chickasaw  County,  as  an  illustration.  There,  he  says,  about 
two  hundred  schools  were  established,  and  of  course  two  hundred  teach- 
ers appointed.  Of  course  several  hundred  radical  schoolmasters  had  to  be 
imported.  These  learned  gentlemen  would  not  put  up  with  ordinary 
buildings  which  could  be  erected  at  cheap  rates,  but  required  handsome 
edifices,  bells  and  walnut  furniture  brought  from  Cincinnati.  These 
edifices  cost  from  $500  to  $1,000  each,  and  the  law  authorized  the  em- 
ployment of  teachers  in  Chickasaw  at  an  average  of  sixty  dollars  a  month. 
If  the  scheme  had  been  consummated  in  Chickasaw,  which  is  given  as  a 
sample,  the  cost  for  the  year  1871  would  have  been  $100,000  for  school 
houses  and  at  least  $120,000  for  teachers,  besides  all  the  expenses  neces- 
sary to  put  the  system  in  operation." 

All  over  the  State  the  robbery  through  the  school  system  was 
especially  rank.  Personal  knowledge  and  memory  of  the  writer 
verifies  this  as  to  Washington  County  The  school  law  which 
the  committee  majority  claimed  afforded  no  "reasonable  pre- 
text for  the  hostility"  to  it  was  administered  by  a  school  board 
with  a  Cincinnati  mulatto  photographer  for  president,  named 
James  P.  Ball,  and  his  son  for  clerk.  The  father  was  also  Presi- 
dent of  the  Board  of  Supervisors  and  the  son  acting  clerk  for 
a  carpetbag  absentee  of  the  Circuit  Court.  There  was  not  a 
smoother  or  more  rapacious  pair  of  scamps  in  all  the  carpetbag 
fraternity.  They  played  the  game  so  boldly  that  they  actually 
shocked  the  carpetbaggers,  who  resented  a  negro's  entering  the 
field  they  had  pre-empted  and  his  impudence  in  harvesting  its 
choicest  fruits  without  asking  their  consent.  The  practices  of 
these  Washington  County  school  board  officials,  two  years  later 
than  the  East  Mississippi  investigation,  were  thus  referred  to  in 
the  Greenville  Times: 

"In  regaling  taxpayers  last  week  with  a  relation  of  certain  doings  of 
J.  P.  Ball's  Board  of  Supervisors,  mention  of  his  Board  of  School  Direct- 
ors was  omitted.  An  incident  of  its  meeting  was  the  allowance  of  a  bill 
of  stationery  to  J.  P.  Ball,  Jr.,  clerk  of  the  school  board,  of  $i  ,700.  Bohlen 
Lucas,  a  member  of  the  Board  of  Supervisors,  has  called  at  the  Times 
office  to  state  that  the  $4,477.68  stationery  allowance  to  Circuit  Clerk 
J.  P.  Ball,  Jr.,  was  never  voted  or  acted  on  by  the  board,  and  the  record 
of  allowance  was  wholly  unauthorized.  Here  is  a  nice  little  responsibility 
for  the  grand  jury  to  decide  between  Ball,  pere,  Ball,  fils,  and  Winslow, 
Clerk  of  the  Board  of  Supervisors.  *  *  * 

••*  *  *  On  investigation  of  the  records  it  will  appear  to  the  grand 
jury  that  the  jail  contractor  has  been  paid  $700  for  constructing  a  school 
house  at  Leota.  By  examining  witnesses  it  will  appear  also  that  no 
school  house  has  been  built  or  commenced.  *  *  *  Upon  investiga- 
tion of  records  it  will  appear  that  J.  P.  Ball,  Jr.,  bought  of  Mrs.  H.  B. 
Theobald  a  certain  lot  for  which  he  paid  $200,  and  promised  to  pay  $500 
more.  He  then,  in  consideration  of  $2,700  cash,  paid,  conveyed  same 
lot  in  fee  simple  to  the  school  board  of  which  he  is  clerk  and  his  father 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  151 

president.     The  lot  has  since  been  sold  for  taxes  and  bought  in  by  Mrs. 
Theobald's  agent  to  protect  her  vendor's  lien  of  $500." 

Separated  from  troubles  and  crimes  with  which  the  Klan  had 
no  real  connection,  though  so  charged,  the  proof  is  clear  that 
what  remains  of  the  Ku  Klux  in  Mississippi  is  almost  entirely 
identified  with  the  State  public  school  system.  This  did  not 
grow  alone  out  of  the  prejudice  to  negro  education  and  the  extrav- 
agant and  corrupt  use  of  the  school  fund.  The  teachers  of  these 
schools  were  as  a  rule  without  respectable  antecedents  and  of 
low  character.  Explaining  a  charge  against  himself  of  "mob- 
bing a  school,"  Colonel  Baskerville,  of  Noxubee  County,  said: 

'  "Complaints  were  made  to  me  by  my  negroes  that  the  teacher,  a  Yankee 
soldier,  was  not  acting  right.  He  was  creating  jealousies  among  the 
negroes  and  had  interfered  with  them  and  their  women.  I  discovered 
he  had  a  white  strumpet  quartered  among  the  negroes.  I  told  him  I 
would  kick  him  off  the  plantation  if  he  did  not  get  off.  He  left  and  went 
up  to  General  Eggleston  (internal  revenue  collector).  What  he  told 
him  I  don't  know.  But  that  was  the  truth  of  the  matter." 

Another  one  of  the  Noxubee  teachers  of  negro  schools  was  a 
carpetbag  preacher  named  Scott.  A  young  negro  boy  became 
distrustful  of  the  methods  of  instruction  under  which  the  young 
idea  of  a  dusky  maiden,  to  whom  he  was  partial,  was  being 
taught  to  shoot.  His  jealousy  resulted  in  a  note  to  Scott  tell- 
ing him  to  scoot,  and  signed  with  the  cabalistic  K.  K.  K.  His 
chirography  gave  the  jealous  swain  away,  and  he  was  arrested 
under  the  Enforcement  Act.  These  are  trifling  but  significant 
incidents. 

The  testimony  of  Mr.  James  Sykes,  a  Lowndes  County  planter, 
sheds  light  on  the  rascalities  practiced  through  the  school  sys- 
tem. A  tax  of  $3,800  a  year  was  levied  on  the  sub-school  dis- 
trict in  which  he  resided,  and  where  there  were  two  schools. 
Upon  investigation,  after  having  paid  his  own  exorbitant  tax, 
he  discovered  that  for  an  old  building  which  he  had  built  years 
before  for  his  negroes,  as  a  church,  the  county  had  been  charged 
$360  for  rent,  stove,  repairs,  fuel,  etc.,  besides  school  desks  and 
apparatus  when  no  rent  had  been  charged  or  paid,  and  the  house 
and  all  in  it  were  exactly  as  before  the  war.  The  other  school 
in  the  district  presented  an  exactly  similar  case  of  stealing. 
The  only  genuine  expense  was  an  imported  teacher  for  each,  at 
fifty  dollars  a  month  for  five  months  in  the  year.  For  Lowndes 


152  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

County  the  first  budget  of  assessment,  Mr.  Sykes  testified,  was 
$95,000.  Seeking  to  place  this  in  evidence,  it  was  found  that 
the  record  book  had  been  placed  out  of  the  way.  So  great  was 
the  complaint  that  the  amount  was  cut  in  half.  It  was  this 
assessment,  as  conclusively  proved,  and  the  fraudulent  prac- 
tices in  connection  with  the  schools,  that  bred  the  Ku  Klux  out- 
rages in  this  county.  The  Klan  notified  white  as  well  as  black 
teachers  to  close  up  their  schools,  that  they  would  not  be  paid 
out  of  the  public  fund. 

Of  Monroe  County  Col.  R.  O.  Reynolds,  a  lawyer  of  promi- 
nence and  a  citizen  of  highest  probity,  testified: 

"In  1871  the  free  school  system  was  inaugurated  in  the  State.  A.  P. 
Muggins,  County  School  Superintendent,  made  an  application  to  the 
Board  of  Supervisors  under  an  account  of  some  $60,000  for  a  tax  to  be 
assessed.  He  made  extravagant  contracts  for  school  buildings  and  his 
contracts  for  school  houses  and  the  pay  he  allowed  school  teachers  were 
regarded  as  extravagant.  That  is  what  produced  dissension  and  trouble 
in  the  county.  Huggins  had  agreed  to  pay  $400  each  for  school  house. 
It  was  estimated  by  mechanics,  examined  by  a  committee  of  citizens, 
that  a  school  house  of  the  dimensions  named  could  be  built  for  $250. 
Huggins'  estimate  of  furniture  for  the  school  rooms  was  between  $3,600 
and  $4,000,  purchased  in  Burlington,  Vermont.  A  Burlington  paper 
charged  that  he  was  getting  pay  from  the  county  at  double  the  amount 
he  paid  for  it." 

It  was  for  this  Colonel  Reynolds  testified,  Huggins  was  taken 
out  and  whipped.  It  was  such  a  wretch  who  was  the  chief  wit- 
ness before  the  congressional  committee  as  to  Monroe  County 
Ku  Klux  outrages.  Many  of  these  were  wholly  and  explicitly 
contradicted  by  Colonel  Reynolds  and  other  witnesses. 

Gen.  S.  Y.  Gholson,  another  member  of  the  Monroe  County 
bar,  who  had  been  United  States  District  Judge  for  twenty-two 
years  before  the  war,  testified  that  the  secret  organization,  the 
K.  K.  K.,  of  1866  and  1867,  had  ceased  to  exist  with  the  latter 
year,  and  that  the  one  operating  in  1871  had  no  sort  of  connec- 
tion with  the  other.  As  to  the  truth  of  this  statement  there  can 
be  no  shade  of  doubt.  With  all  the  other  credible  witnesses  he 
made  it  plain  that  many  crimes  charged  up  to  the  Ku  Klux  were 
wholly  disconnected  from  it  and  personal.  While  strongly  de- 
nouncing the  outrages  of  the  latter  period,  such  as  the  burning 
of  school  and  gin  houses,  the  whippings  and  assassinations,  they 
had  their  origin,  he  said,  in  the  abuses  of  Republican  politicians. 

In  his  testimony  the  Hon.  J.  A.  Orr,  of  Columbus,  Circuit  Judge 
and  Republican,  testified  that  he  charged  the  grand  jury  "elab- 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  153 

orately  upon  the  State  statute  against  masked  men  and  ma- 
rauders. And  that  while  investigating  a  case  of  that  kind,  two 
men  who  had  been  tried  and  acquitted  of  robbery,  were  taken 
out  by  disguised  men  and  severely  chastised.  The  guilt  of  one 
of  the  men  was  so  apparent  that  I  discharged  the  jury  and  ordered 
the  sheriff  to  summon  another."  He  said  the  Ku  Klux  "was 
condemned  by  the  best  citizens  of  the  county,  that  the  organi- 
zation was  for  political  purposes  and  protection."  Being  ques- 
tioned closely  by  Senator  Blair,  he  admitted  he  would  have  more 
accurately  expressed  his  meaning  and  the  facts  by  saying  racial 
instead  of  "political"  purposes.  He  said  he  "neither  knew  or 
had  heard  of  employers  seeking  to  control  their  laborers  as  to 
voting  by  threats  of  discharge  or  other  offensive  means."  This 
expression  was  disappointing  to  the  committee,  but  the  witness 
could  not  be  shaken  from  it.  He  declared  that  "all  voted  freely 
without  restraint  or  fear  in  the  last  election." 

Of  the  lynching  of  the  two  Flints,  the  first  in  his  county,  and 
section,  Colonel  Reynolds  said: 

"I  know  that  it  created  as  much  horror  and  disgust  among  the  white 
men  as  among  the  blacks,  and  there  was  a  strong  disposition  to  ferret 
out  the  offenders." 

Judge  H.  L.  Jarnagan,  an  universally  respected  and  popular 
citizen  of  Noxubee,  testified,  November  8th,  that  he  had  not 
"heard  of  any  disguised  persons  in  this  county  for  several 
months."  He  further  said: 

"I  have  approached  several  and  asked  if  there  was  any  such  thing  in 
the  neighborhood  where  they  live  and  they  always  deny  it.  My  advice 
always  has  been  that  we  are  the  men  to  suppress  these  things  ourselves." 

November  16,  1871,  Capt.  W.  W.  Humphreys,  a  leading  citizen 
and  lawyer  of  Columbus,  testified  as  to  Lowndes  County: 

"I  am  satisfied  all  good  people  would  act  in  suppression  of  these  night 
outrages  with  concert  if  they  knew  where  to  begin.  Action  en  masse 
is  out  of  their  power.  But  sentiment  is  against  the  outrages.  They  have 
been  denounced  and  in  that  way  sentiment  has  been,  to  a  great  extent, 
successful.  The  records  of  the  court  and  the  grand  jury  report  a  decrease 
in  them,  and  this  has  been  brought  about  by  popular  denunciation.  I 
do  not  and  never  have  believed  there  was  any  regular  organization.  I 
think  private  parties,  four  or  five,  of  a  neighborhood,  have  whipped  a 
negro  on  account  of  his  political  activity,  or  for  stealing.  White  men 
have  been  whipped,  too,  for  things  they  thought  the  law  could  not  reach  " 


154  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

The  tenor  of  Governor  Powers'  testimony  is  partisan  and 
abounds  in  perversions  of  fact.  But  he  substantially  admitted 
most  that  is  claimed  as  to  the  scope  and  causes  of  the  Ku  Klux. 
He  said: 

"We  have  not  had  much  difficulty  (in  law  enforcement)  in  Mississippi, 
except  in  the  counties  of  Monroe,  Lowndes,  Oktibbeha,  Noxubee,  Kem- 
per,  Lauderdale  and  Winston.  Outside  of  these,  with  few  exceptions, 
there  has  been  no  trouble  in  enforcing  the  law.  Winston  is  the  worst 
of  the  lot." 

It  would  have  been  more  fairly  accurate  to  limit  the  preva- 
lence of  this  lawlessness  to  "parts"  of  these  counties.  No  whole 
county  was  so  infected. 

E.  P.  Jacobson,  United  States  District  Attorney  for  the 
Southern  District  of  Mississippi,  testifying  June  21,  1871,  said: 

"There  was  no  difficulty  in  executing  the  laws  of  Congress  in  his  dis- 
trict; that  there  would  be  great  difficulty  in  enforcing  the  Ku  Klux  Act 
through  the  juries,  because  of  a  general  inference  that  it  was  a  hostile 
measure  toward  the  South ;  that  he  was  satisfied  there  was  no  Ku  Klux 
organization  in  the  State." 

And  yet  the  State  press  and  men  of  influence  were  held  cul- 
pable by  E.  Wiley  Wells  because  they  denied  the  existence  of 
such  "organization"  in  the  previous  December. 

H.  C.  Powers,  sheriff  of  Noxubee  and  a  brother  of  Governor 
Powers,  testified: 

"From  the  time  I  came  into  the  county  and  during  the  time  I  was 
sheriff,  from  1868  until  the  spring  of  1871,  we  had  what  I  call  a  very 
peaceful  county.  Nothing  occurred  in  the  nature  of  violent  measures. 
In  the  spring  of  1871,  I  think  it  was  in  April  last,  there  were  rumors  of 
a  band  of  disguised  men  traveling  around  at  night  in  different  neighbor- 
hoods." 

Sheriff  Chisholm,  of  Kemper,  a  bitter  "scalawag,"  testified 
that  his  county  had  been  quiet  and  entirely  free  from  murders 
"since  the  readmission  of  the  State." 

Finis  H.  Little,  a  Monroe  County  carpetbagger,  testifying 
July  29,  was  positive  that  "the  outrages  had  occurred  in  the  past 
six  or  eight  months."  There  had  been  but  one  outrage  by 
masked  men  before  October,  1870." 

The  attempted  Ku  Kluxing  of  R.  W.  Flournoy  furnished  a 
strong  and  a  most  significant  refutation  of  the  political  con- 
spiracy theory.  Flournoy  is  described  in  the  testimony  of  the 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  155 

radical  attorney-general,  Morris,  as  "the  editor  of  the  most  vio- 
lent Republican  paper  in  the  State."  He  was  an  insistent  and 
offensive  advocate  of  "equality,"  and  quarrelled  furiously  with 
Governor  Alcorn  because  he  would  not  order  negroes  to  be  ad- 
mitted to  the  State  University.  There  was  not  an  issue  of  his 
paper  that  did  not  teem  with  abusive  attacks  upon  the  Demo- 
crats, or  white  people  of  the  State,  for  not  embracing  radicalism. 
After  the  Ku  Klux  broke  up  the  schools  in  Pontotoc,  his  paper, 
called  Equal  Rights,  was  devoted  to  denouncing  the  Klan.  And 
on  the  night  of  May  1 2th  a  band  rode  into  the  little  town  of  Pon- 
totoc inquiring  for  Flournoy's  home.  Chancellor  Pollard  was 
in  the  town,  it  being  court  week.  What  followed  is  told  in  his 
evidence : 

"I  had  been  hunting  with  some  friends.  We  afterwards  met  at  the 
courthouse,  four  of  us,  playing  a  game  of  euchre.  A  resident  of  the 
town  came  and  told  us  the  'Ku  Klux  are  here.'  The  party  dispersed  and 
armed.  Flournoy  was  sent  for.  *  *  *  Soon  after  I  saw  them,  not 
less  than  nor  more  than  twenty,  disguised,  on  horses.  I  stepped  out  and 
said:  'Gentlemen,  if  your  mission  is  one  of  peace  and  pleasantry  you  will 
not  be  molested.  If  on  the  other  hand,  you  are  here  for  bloodshed,  in 
the  name  and  by  order  of  the  laws  of  Mississippi,  I  demand  you  surrender.' 
Almost  instantly  a  pistol  shot  was  fired  from  the  crowd  of  disguised  men. 
Very  soon  another  pistol  shot  was  fired  and  I  heard  a  voice  from  another 
street  commanding  them  to  halt.  And  then  another  pistol  was  fired, 
and  then  the  firing  became  general  on  both  sides.  I  think  there  were 
about  thirty  shots  fired  in  all  on  both  sides.  One  of  the  disguised  men 
was  left  in  the  street  wounded,  who  died  about  sunrise.  A  large  public 
meeting  was  held  the  Saturday  after,  to  frown  down  Ku  Kluxism. 

In  his  further  testimony  Chancellor  Pollard  was  asked  the 
question,  "Had  there  been  any  previous  Ku  Klux  demonstrations 
in  that  county?"  He  replied,  "None  that  I  know  of  or  heard  of, 
except  this  one." 

The  chief  significance  of  this  fray  is  that  the  white  men  of 
Pontotoc,  Democrats,  readily  and  resolutely  responded  to  the 
call  of  Chancellor  Pollard,  as  a  posse  to  confront  and  disperse 
the  Ku  Klux,  who  were  after  punishing  an  odious  white  super- 
intendent of  the  public  schools.  On  the  information  conveyed 
in  the  dying  statement  of  the  wounded  Ku  Klux  a  number  of 
arrests  were  made  by  the  United  States  military,  one  of  them, 
and  a  ring  leader,  being  a  Republican  justice  of  the  peace  and 
an  Alcorn  appointee. 

District  Attorney  Wells  contradicted  his  political  conspiracy 
theory  in  the  following: 


156  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

"The  uniform  feeling  and  sentiment  of  those  people  of  the  Ku  Klux 
sympathizers  is  that  this  common  school  system  is  not  to  be  put  in  opera- 
tion ;  that  the  colored  folks  ought  to  be  able  to  take  care  of  their  own 
children;  that  the  people  ought  not  to  be  taxed  to  educate  them.  I 
believe  that  in  many  counties  many  of  their  raids  and  whippings  have 
been  principally  aimed  at  school  houses  and  school  teachers,  to  drive 
away  the  teachers  and  break  up  the  schools." 

Cornelius  McBride,  carpetbag  negro  school  teacher  in  Chicka- 
saw,  and  a  Ku  Klux  victim,  told  the  common  story  as  to  the 
date  when  the  Ku  Klux  first  appeared  in  Northeast  Mississippi. 
Having  disregarded  notices  to  close  his  school,  he  was  visited,  as 
he  states,  "between  12  and  i  o'clock  on  Thursday  night  of  the 
last  week  in  March,  1871."  He  was  severely  whipped  and  made 
to  leave.  He  carried  his  wrongs  to  Governor  Alcorn,  who  sent 
him  to  U.  S.  District  Attorney  Wells.  With  the  U.  S.  Marshal 
and  some  files  of  soldiers  he  overran  Chickasaw  County  in  pursuit 
of  Ku  Klux.  He  returned  to  Oxford  and  served  on  the  grand 
jury.  He  proved  a  fluent  witness  before  the  committee.  But 
he,  too,  affirmed  that  "the  objection  is  to  the  free  schools.  In 
some  counties  it  is  to  all,  in  others  to  only  the  colored  schools. 
Educating  the  colored  people  is  the  great  cause  of  objection. 
The  great  opposition  to  it  is  because  it  is  'a  darned  radical  free 
school  system.'  That  is  the  «ay  they  speak  of  it." 

The  committee's  star  witness,  A.  P.  Huggins,  County  Super- 
intendent of  Education  of  Monroe  County,  a  carpetbagger  of 
the  extreme  type  and  a  Ku  Klux  victim,  definitely  fixed  the 
"first  Ku  Klux  outrage  in  our  section"  in  the  lynching  of  two 
negroes  named  Flint.  They  were  killed  after  being  taken  from 
jail,  where  they  and  their  father  were  held  for  a  murderous 
assault  on  their  landlord.  While  Huggins  dated  the  affair  in 
August,  Flint,  the  father,  and  other  witnesses  fixed  it  definitely 
October  13,  1870.  It  was  a  purely  personal  matter.  Huggins 
further  testified  that  "our  real  tribulations  with  the  Ku  Klux 
began  in  February,  1871."  He  said:  "I  never  saw  a  more  quiet 
election  in  the  North  than  that  of  1869.  *  *  *  There  never 
was  a  more  un trammeled  vote."  At  this  time  Huggins  was 
sheriff,  also  bureau  agent,  also  district  internal  revenue  collector. 
Speaking  of  the  subsequent  period  he  said:  "There  was  more 
excitement  about  the  school  tax  than  any  other  question." 
The  committee  majority  report  testified  to  the  fact  that  the 
rise  of  the  Ku  Klux  in  Mississippi  was  in  the  fall  of  1870,  when 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  157 

there  was  no  election  pending  and  no  political  excitement  in 
the  State.  It  reads:  "During  1868  (1869?)  and  the  first  part  of 
1870  comparative  peace  and  security  prevailed."  The  report, 
as  already  quoted,  also  testifies  to  the  truth  of  the  claim  that  the 
school  law  and  its  administration  was  the  chief  cause  of  the 
trouble. 

Testimony  is  just  as  abundant  that  the  design  of  the  Enforce- 
ment Act  and  its  administration  was  party  effect,  and  not  as 
stated  in  the  President's  message  asking  its  adoption,  "to  effect- 
ually secure  life,  liberty  and  property."  "A  prominent  Repub- 
lican" published  a  communication  in  the  New  York  Tribune, 
which  was  approvingly  reproduced  in  the  radical  organ  at  Jack- 
son, August  i,  1871.  It  said: 

"The  Republicans  are  confident  of  carrying .  Mississippi.  They  have 
been  greatly  encouraged  by  learning  that  United  States  troops  are  to  be 
sent  to  aid  the  United  States  marshal  and  deputies  in  making  arrests 
under  a  large  number  of  indictments  found." 

How  little  troops  were  needed  in  this  campaign  is  to  be  read 
in  the  testimony,  November  i8th,  of  Captain  Rose,  U.  S.  A., 
commanding  the  post  at  Aberdeen,  who  said: 

"After  the  middle  of  May  there  were'  no  more  reports  of  disturbances 
except  one.  In  this  case  a  negro  charged  with  murdering  a  white  man 
who  had  caught  him  stealing  hogs,  was  taken  by  disguised  men  from  the 
constables  and  killed." 

In  truth  the  Ku  Klux  outrages  were  completely  overshadowed 
by  the  far  graver  outrages  inflicted  in  their  suppression.  The 
law  and  its  execution  are  thus  truthfully  and  clearly  stated  in 
the  life  of  L.  Q.  C.  Lamar,  by  Hon.  E.  Mayes: 

"In  April,  1871,  Congress  made  these  offenses  punishable  in  the  Fed- 
eral Courts,  and  authorized  the  President  to  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas 
corpus  when  necessary  to  the  preservation  of  order.  Apart  from  the  con- 
stitutionality of  the  law  itself,  had  these  measures  been  wisely  and  hu- 
manely employed  to  suppress  the  evil  it  would  have  been  well  enough; 
but  the  tremendous  enginery  put  in  operation  was  managed  by  the  same 
reckless  and  unscrupulous  class  of  aliens,  carpetbaggers  and  scalawags, 
already  described.  In  many  of  the  judicial  districts,  instead  of  using  it 
for  the  maintenance  of  good  order,  it  was  used  to  rivet  still  further  the 
shackles  upon  the  people  by  establishing  the  radicals  in  power.  It  was 
distorted  into  an  instrument  for  gratifying  private  enmities  and  grudges. 
It  was  prostituted  into  a  money  making  machine  by  hordes  of  profligate 
deputy  marshals  who  spied  put  the  land  and  worked  up  prosecutions 
yielding  enormous  costs.  Witnesses  found  out  that  the  heavy  per  diem 
fees  and  the  large  mileage  allowed  realized  pretty  sums,  and  they  were  not 


1 58  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

lacking.  It  was  not  an  unknown  thing  for  witnesses  to  be  summoned 
to  the  seat  of  a  court  from  long  distances  under  subpoenas  which  held 
them  from  term  to  term,  even  during  the  vacations;  and  so  they  were 
able  to  draw  per  diem  compensation  during  the  whole  period,  while  at 
the  same  time  hiring  out  for  wages  in  the  usual  manner.  The  courts  were 
thronged  with  poor  people  who  had  been  dragged  from  their  homes  under 
groundless  charges,  with  their  women  and  children  along  as  witnesses  on 
expenses;  and  vacant  lots  in  the  court  towns  were  frequently  covered 
with  the  tents  which  sheltered  them.  What  approval  the  good  people 
of  the  State  would  have  felt  for  a  proper  administration  of  the  law  was 
lost  in  a  sense  of  outrage  at  beholding  a  widespread  and  relentless  perse- 
cution, conducted  to  a  great  extent  by  men  who  were  well  known  to  be 
of  the  most  desperate  and  lawless  character  under  pretense  of  loyalty  to 
the  government.  No  adequate  description  can  be  given  of  the  diablerie 
which  was  carried  on  by  the  rulers." 

Having  resigned  a  professorship  in  the  State  University  the 
year  before  because  of  the  appointment  of  a  radical  tainted 
Board  of  Trustees,  Mr.  Lamar  was  then  living  in  retirement  from 
public  life  in  Oxford,  where  the  prosecutions  under  the  Ku  Klux 
law  were  being  made.  His  great  heart  wrung  with  anguish  at 
the  sight  of  the  wrong  inflicted  upon  the  people,  he  wrote  in  a 
letter  to  a  friend,  "We  are  grievously  persecuted  under  the  Ku 
Klux  law." 

It  was  at  this  time  that  Horace  Greeley  made  his  Southern 
tour,  and  the  historic  speech  on  his  return  to  New  York,  contain- 
ing the  memorable  passage: 

"The  carpetbaggers  are  a  mournful  fact,  and  I  have  seen  them — a 
thieving  gang,  fellows  who  crawled  down  South  in  the  track  of  our  armies 
at  a  very  safe  distance  in  the  rear  on  a  sutler's  wagon.  They  now  stand 
in  the  public  eye,  stealing  and  plundering,  with  both  arms  around  the 
negroes,  and  hands  in  their  rear  pockets  seeing  if  they  cannot  pick  a  pal- 
try dollar  out  of  them." 

His  Southern  trip  opened  Mr.  Greeley's  eyes  to  the  truth  and 
the  iniquities  of  reconstruction.  And  it  was  in  Mississippi  that 
he  derived  his  object-lesson  in  part,  some  of  his  teachers  being 
lodged  in  Vicksburg  and  Natchez,  where  he  stopped.  In  an 
address  in  the  latter  place  he  raised  a  howl  of  wrath  from  the 
negroes,  who  had  flocked  to  hear  one  of  the  abolition  old  guard. 
Among  other  things  he  said: 

"It  would  have  been  better  had  the  suffrage  been  bestowed  on  the 
negroes  more  gradually.  And  there  should  be  an  educational  qualifi- 
cation." 

At  Vicksburg,  where  he  spoke  June  i,  1871,  he  said: 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  159 

"On  this  classic  ground  I  pledge  myself  to  use  my  utmost  efforts  for 
the  accomplishment  of  the  highest  good  of  all  American  people." 

Afterwards,  passing  through  Louisville,  he  said  in  a  speech, 
"Mississippi  is  in  a  deplorable  condition." 

Writing  home  while  on  a  visit  to  the  South,  Mrs.  Henry  Ward 
Beecher  bore  like  testimony  to  the  true  cause  of  Southern  "out- 
rages." She  said  in  this  letter: 

"I  declare  to  you  before  God  that  if  the  ruling  powers  will  keep  carpet- 
baggers away  and  refrain  from  sending  politicians  down  here  to  rekindle 
the  fires  of  dissension  for  their  own  base  ends,  there  will  be  no  trouble 
with  the  Ku  Klux." 

More  conclusively  than  all  other  proof  of  partisan  and  fee  hunt- 
ing motives  and  purposes  of  the  Ku  Klux  law  and  the  prosecu- 
tions under  it,  is  the  fact  that  of  all  the  hundreds  of  arrests  and 
indictments  there  were  no  jury  convictions,  and  no  claim  of 
earning  the  $5,000  reward  offered  in  Governor  Alcorn's  procla- 
mation for  any  arrest  and  conviction  of  a  Ku  Klux.  As  an  illus- 
tration of  hundreds  of  proceedings  by  the  United  States  com- 
missioners and  deputy  marshals  in  their  zeal  for  fees,  the  case  of 
fifteen  citizens  of  Neshoba  County  is  referred  to.  They  were 
arrested  and  carried  to  Jackson  under  a  commissioner's  warrant 
which  charged  them  with  "banding  together  for  the  purpose  of 
preventing  one  Sarah  Barfield  from  exercising  her  rights  by  civil 
law  and  for  the  purpose  of  breaking  up  the  Federal  government." 
The  specification  to  this  charge  was  that  in  a  trial  growing  out 
of  a  personal  fray  between  two  women,  one  of  them,  the  daugh- 
ter of  a  radical  local  functionary,  these  "Ku  Klux"  had  sworn 
they  would  not  believe  the  plaintiff  on  oath.  And  that  was 
charged  to  be  "breaking  up  the  Federal  government."  The 
following  from  the  Columbus  Index  reflects  the  tactics  of  the  Ku 
Klux  histories: 

"The  movement  of  United  States  troop  in  the  county  west  of  Colum- 
bus is  occasioning  great  anxiety  among  the  people.  For  an  assault  upon 
a  young  negro,  who  had  threatened  his  life,  by  a  young  white  man,  who 
immediately  fled  the  State,  a  squad  of  soldiers  has  been  quartered  on 
the  people  of  West  Point.  A  company  of  soldiers  under  the  infamous 
Huggins  raided  into  Oktibbeha  last  Monday  for  the  purpose  of  rearresting 
the  Ku  Klux  prisoners  who  had  been  released  at  Holly  Springs  under 
bond.  Near  Starkville  they  entered  the  residence  of  Mr.  James  Bell, 
intruding  into  the  room  of  his  sick  wife,  examining  the  bed,  frightening 
and  insulting  his  family,  under  the  pretense  of  hunting  for  Mr.  Bell,  who 
was  not  at  home.  The  next  night  they  started  again  to  Oktibbeha, 


160  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

marching  with  stealthiness  as  if  going  through  an  enemy's  country, 
where  any  constable  can  arrest  any  or  all  of  the  bonded  prisoners  and 
deliver  them  at  any  designated  place.  Here  we  rind  this  wretch  Huggins, 
an  enemy  to  the  people,  prowling  over  the  country  at  night  time  with  a 
band  of  soldiers  at  whose  hands  the  people  are  constantly  dreading  vio- 
lence. It  is  enough  to  drive  people  to  desperation.  The  State  of  Mis- 
sissippi can  never  forgive  Governor  Alcorn  for  sanctioning  such  war  upon 
the  people  of  the  State,  and  all  in  the  interest  of  the  Republican  party." 

Governor  Alcorn's  "sanction"  and  aid  was  a  defensive  testi- 
monial of  partisan  zeal  which  was  called  for  by  the  exigencies  of 
his  strained  relations  with  the  Ames  carpetbag  faction,  which 
was  bent  on  his  destruction.  He  was  involved  in  bitter  strife 
with  the  publishers  of  the  party  organ,  whom  he  removed,  ap- 
pointing those  on  whose  devotion  he  could  rely,  to  the  lucrative 
job.  He  was  assailed  by  the  Pilot,  the  Ames  organ,  with  the 
accusation  of  "trying  to  sell  out  the  party."  Opposing  the 
endorsement  of  his  administration  by  the  party  convention, 
which  was  called  for  September  ist,  it  charged: 

"We  have  the  statistics  from  all  over  the  State  which  will  show  how 
fearfully  we  have  been  sold  out.  The  numbers  of  Democrats,  old  line 
Whigs,  and  Alcorn  men  appointed  to  office  are  conclusive  evidence  of 
the  treason  to  Republican  principles  Alcorn  has  practiced." 

The  Governor  met  such  assaults  in  two  ways.  First,  the 
mutineers  were  quelled  by  removals  and  threats  of  removal  from 
office.  Second,  he  gave  fresh  proof  of  his  fidelity  "to  Republican 
principles,"  by  his  Ku  Klux  proclamation,  and  by  repelling 
approaches  toward  fusions  with  Democrats  in  the  white  counties. 
The  following  is  from  a  letter  by  his  private  secretary  to  the  cir- 
cuit clerk  of  Lincoln  County,  dated  August  8,  1871 : 

"Sir,  I  am  directed  by  the  Governor  to  inform  you  he  is  in  receipt  of 
information  that  you  have  received  the  Democratic  nomination  for  your 
re-election.  Regarding  as  the  Governor  does,  the  triumph  of  the  Demo- 
cratic party  as  imperiling  the  peace  and  happiness  of  the  State,  and  threat- 
ening as  it  would  the  return  of  Mississippi  to  the  government  of  the 
bayonet,  etc.  *  *  *  If  this  report  be  true  the  Governor  requests  that 
you  at  once  forward  your  resignation." 

The  resignation  not  being  received  this  official  was  inconti- 
nently removed. 

In  his  testimony  before  the  congressional  sub-committee, 
District  Attorney  Wells  had  announced  a  revival  of  the  activi- 
ties of  the  Ku  Klux  organizations;  that  "the  authorities  were 
being  overpowered  in  every  direction."  This  was,  in  fact,  his  way 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  161 

of  announcing  that  his  deputies  were  in  the  field,  backed  by  U.  S. 
troops,  preparing  for  his  next  term  of  court  and  crop  of  fees.  It 
was  the  same  old  story — every  local  fray  or  grudge  was  seized 
upon  as  a  Ku  Klux  outrage.  A  white  man,  Mr.  Garrett,  a  citi- 
zen of  Monroe  County,  was  shot  and  fatally  wounded  while 
passing  through  the  woods  of  his  farm.  He  recognized  the 
negro  who  shot  him.  When  arrested  this  man  confessed  to  the 
crime.  He  said  he  had  just  killed  a  hog  when  Mr.  Garrett  ap- 
peared near  him.  Thinking  he  had  been  detected  he  fired  the 
fatal  shot.  In  fact  he  had  not  been  seen  until  then.  It  was 
proposed  by  a  crowd,  white  and  black,  to  lynch  the  murderer. 
After  much  trouble  a  Mr.  Lagroune  and  others  prevailed  against 
this  design.  Upon  a  magistrate's  warrant  he  and  two  other 
men  took  the  negro  and  started  to  Aberdeen  with  him.  Under 
a  change  of  mind  the  mob  pursued  the  party  and  lynched  the 
negro.  Whereupon  the  three  men  who  had  tried  to  save  him 
were  arrested  under  the  Ku  Klux  act  and  carried  to  Oxford. 

The  Macon  Beacon  of  October  gth  reported  the  arrest  of  sev- 
eral citizens,  including  the  editor  of  the  paper,  by  United  States 
Marshal  Pierce  for  "violating  the  Enforcement  Act."  The 
specifications  were  "for  tarring  and  feathering  one  Dunn,  a 
semi-vagrant  who  had  quartered  himself  on  the  colored  citizens. 
The  parties  arrested  were  allowed  to  give  bond  for  their  appear- 
ance at  the  United  States  Court." 

The  Holly  Springs  Reporter  noted  the  arrest  of  two  women 
in  Tippah  County  by  a  deputy  U.  S.  marshal,  with  a  detachment 
of  troops,  for  making  Ku  Klux  suits.  They  were  brought  to 
Holly  Springs  with  five  negro  witnesses.  These  were  specimen 
cases  of  Wells'  Ku  Klux.  The  hunt  broadened  all  over  North- 
east Mississippi.  The  sight  of  deputy  marshals  and  soldiers 
going  forth  after  and  returning  with  their  parties  of  victims,  the 
terrifying  stories  they  told,  demoralized  the  people.  At  the 
November  court  the  Marshall  County  grand  jury  investigated. 
Ku  Klux  rumors  thoroughly  for  the  purpose  of  allaying  negro 
fears  of  the  Klan.  It  was  proved  to  them  and  reported  to  the 
court,  presided  over  by  a  radical  judge,  that  the  reports  alarming 
the  timid  and  ignorant  were  wholly  groundless. 

In  July,  1871,  inspired  by  partisanship  and  greed  to  emulate 
G.  Wiley  Wells  in  the  Northern  District,  U.  S.  District  Attorney 


162  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Jacobson  of  the  Southern  District  opened  up  a  Ku  Klux  cam- 
paign. He  began  on  Meridian,  with  the  riot  for  his  ground  of 
action.  The  United  States  Marshal  of  the  district,  Shaughnessey, 
had  succeeded  E.  A.  Peyton,  who  had  been  removed  and  was 
under  indictment  for  embezzlement.  Shaughnessey  was  sup- 
plied with  troops  and  with  two  deputy  marshals,  on  the  order 
of  Wissler  and  Reed,  named  Gainey  and  Esquiral,  made  over  a 
hundred  arrests  in  Lauderdale,  Newton  and  Neshoba.  There 
was  not  even  a  tracing  of  Ku  Klux  disorders  in  these  counties. 
Newton  County  was  in  a  disordered  condition  over  the  crimes 
of  its  county  officers.  The  clerk  of  the  courts,  C.  L.  Swann, 
was  being  legally  proceeded  against  for  fraudulent  practices  by 
citizens  of  the  county,  upon  whom  he  had  retaliated  by  swear- 
ing out  warrants  as  Ku  Klux.  The  sheriff  of  the  county  had 
decamped  with  the  county  funds.  His  deputy  and  two  minor 
county  officials  were  under  arrest  and  appearance  bonds  for 
preliminary  trial.  They  went  to  Jackson  and  returned  with 
Deputy  Marshal  Gainey  and  a  squad  of  cavalry,  who  arrested 
the  magistrate  and  twenty-odd  citizens  under  the  Ku  Klux  Act, 
taking  them  to  Jackson,  where  they  were  bound  over  to  appear 
before  the  Federal  Court.  The  Meridian  Mercury  of  August 
8th  had  the  following: 

"We  had  mention  in  our  Saturday  issue  that  a  deputy  United  States 
Marshal,  with  a  squad  of  cavalry,  was  seen  leaving  town,  and  predicted 
they  were  going  to  make  arrests  somewhere.  We  now  know  that  this 
war  party  invaded  Neshoba.  They  returned  here  at  noon  to-day,  bringing 
in  nine  citizens  of  that  county.  They  are  charged  with  violating  the 
Enforcement  Act  against  one  Sarah  Barfield,  old  Dr.  Tyner's  daughter, 
who  has  before  now  figured  in  similar  Ku  Klux  prosecutions.  Tyner 
is  a  Grant  man,  and  this  is  his  way  of  canvassing  Neshoba." 

Court  met  in  Jackson  in  December,  1871.  As  at  Oxford,  the 
grand  jury  was  selected  and  assorted  for  indictments,  of  which 
one  hundred  and  fifty  were  found.  Also,  as  at  Oxford,  leading 
and  able  members  of  the  bar  appeared  for  the  defense.  After 
much  sparring  two  of  the  Meridian  rioters,  one  being  Deputy 
Sheriff  Belk,  were  selected  as  test  cases.  There  was  dissatis- 
isfaction  on  the  part  of  Jacobson  with  the  jury  and  he  moved  to 
quash  the  venire.  His  motion  was  granted,  but  not  until  he 
was  forced  to  admit  by  Gen.  T.  J.  Wharton  that  he  had  con- 
ferred with  the  marshal,  and  advised  him  not  to  select  men 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  163 

"hostile  to  the  government,"  that  is,  Democrats.  The  court 
was  a  prolonged  one,  and  while  it  was  in  session  its  purlieus  pre- 
sented a  rare  spectacle.  Jacobson  was  not  the  adept  at  the 
trade  that  Wells  was,  and  instead  of  resting  his  prosecutions  on 
a  few  experts,  he  had  hundreds  of  negro  witnesses  camped 
around  the  courthouse  and  swarming  in  its  halls  and  area  ways. 
There  were  over  300,  and  the  marshal's  fund  was  exhausted  in 
paying  them.  It  was  estimated  that  $20,000  was  paid  out  in 
witness  fees.  The  two  test  case  subjects  were  convicted  by  the 
expurgated  jury.  Their  counsel,  Gen.  T.  J.  Wharton  and  Judge 
Potter,  urged  them  to  appeal  and  threw  up  the  case  when  their 
advice  was  rejected.  It  was  so  plain,  however,  that  the  admin- 
istration was  behind  the  prosecution,  that  the  prisoners  were 
intimidated  into  submission. 

Mistaking  the  opportunity,  the  Alabama  negro,  Adam  Ken- 
nard,  who  had  been  Ku  Kluxed  at  Meridian  a  year  before  by 
the  white  radical  Price  and  a  band  of  negroes,  went  to  Jackson 
to  have  them  indicted.  The  Meridian  Mercury  thus  tells  of 
what  followed : 

"What  do  you  think  befell  Adam  Kennard,  out  at  Jackson,  where  he 
went  to  help  the  government  put  down  the  Ku  Klux?  It's  so  funny! 
Hold  your  sides,  it's  coming;  they  put  him  in  jail.  What  did  they  put 
Adam  in  jail  for?  I'll  tell  you.  Because  it  is  against  the  policy  of  the  • 
government,  in  the  wild  hunt  for  Ku  Klux,  to  find  any  black  ones. 
Jacobson  knows,  and  has  known  about  this  case  for  months.  But  Jacob- 
son  also  knows  the  wish  of  his  master,  and  so  when  Adam  comes  looking 
for  justice  he  gives  him  a  cell." 

And  there  Adam  lay  until  court  adjourned. 

His  Ku  Klux  activities  did  not  prevent  District  Attorney 
Wells  from  taking  part  in  the  State  canvass.  He  was  one  of 
the  speakers  at  a  negro  meeting  in  DeSoto,  which  was  thus 
spoken  of  by  the  DeSoto  Times: 

"Their  theme  was  the  denunciation  of  every  white  man,  woman  and 
child  in  the  State.  They  advised  the  negroes  to  demand  every  right  the 
white  man  enjoyed,  and  that  they  dare  not  be  refused  because  the  whole 
power  of  the  government  was  at  their  back  to  enforce  their  demands." 

District  Attorney  Jacobson  was  also  busy  in  campaign  services 
as  President  of  the  Capital  Grant  Club.  A.  P.  Huggins,  inter- 
nal revenue  assessor,  county  school  superintendent  and  U.  S. 
deputy  marshal,  was  candidate  for  and  elected  to  the"1  Legis- 
lature from  Monroe  County. 


164  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

President  Grant's  message  to  Congress,  December,  1871,  con- 
tained the  long  deferred  recommendation  of  a  bill  of  "general 
amnesty,"  and  removal  of  the  political  disabilities  prescribed  in 
the  1 4th  amendment  It  was  qualified  by  the  proposition  that 
Congress  might,  in  its  judgment,  "exclude  any  great  criminals 
from  the  terms  of  the  act."  Brought  forward  limping  and 
grudgingly,  seven  years  after  the  close  of  the  war,  grateful  ap- 
preciation would  have  been  small  had  the  bill  been  passed 
promptly.  It  was  on  the  contrary  bitterly  opposed  by  radical 
Senators — their  leader,  Senator  Morton,  denouncing  it  as  "in- 
human and  immoral — an  admission  of  the  innocence  of  the 
rebellion."  It  was  saddled  with  a  civil  rights  amendment 
which  delayed  passage  until  the  end  of  the  session.  When 
finally  enacted  there  was  a  large  class  of  the  most  prominent, 
patriotic  and  popular  citizens  of  the  South  "excluded  as  great 
criminals."  The  commissioner  of  pensions  issued  a  circular 
arbitrarily  overruling  the  general  implication  of  the  act  that 
Southern  soldiers  in  previous  wars  of  the  United  States  were 
entitled  to  pensions.  Even  had  these  harsh  features  been  want- 
ing, the  tenor  and  terms  of  the  amnesty  would  have  been  com- 
pletely overshadowed  and  obscured  by  the  dread  of  continuing 
the  Ku  Klux  law,  and  the  passage  of  the  civil  rights  bill.  At 
this  time  the  persecutions  for  violations  of  the  former  were  in 
full  blast  in  Mississippi  and  South  Carolina.  In  a  report  of  Jan- 
uary 1 3th  General  Emory,  who  commanded  the  troops  in  the 
Department  of  the  Gulf,  stated  that  he  had  sent  additional  troops 
(cavalry)  to  Mississippi,  in  response  to  requests  of  the  United 
States  Marshals  and  District  Attorneys,  to  assist  in  arresting 
persons  charged  with  violations  of  the  Enforcement  Act  of  1871. 
He  stated  that  he  had  investigated  affairs  in  Mississippi,  and  in 
granting  the  request  for  more  troops  he  had  been  actuated  by 
"the  principle  that  prevention  was  better  than  military  inter- 
vention in  civil  affairs."  And  that  "the  hostility  of  the  people 
was  not  against  the  United  States  government,  but  the  State 
government  which  is  odious  beyond  expression,  and  I  fear  justly 
so." 

In  his  message  to  the  Legislature  when  it  met  in  January, 
1872,  Governor  Powers  thus  opened  his  discussion  of  State 
affairs : 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  165 

"It  is  a  source  of  gratification  to  me  to  be  able  to  inform  you  that  the 
state  of  the  government  is  peace.  Since  the  adjournment  of  the  last 
Legislature  there  have  been  no  riots  or  disturbances  which  the  civil 
authorities  have  not  been  able  to  promptly  suppress.  The  elections  in 
November,  although  preceded  by  an  exciting  canvass,  was  attended  by 
no  demonstrations  of  violence,  and  the  will  of  the  people,  as  expressed  at 
the  ballot  box,  has  been  generally  acquiesced  in  without  murmur.  The 
armed  organization  of  masked  marauders  which  twelve  months  ago 
threatened  to  override  law  and  paralyze  industry  in  a  few  of  the  eastern 
counties,  through  the  combined  efforts  of  the  good  citizens  of  those  sec- 
tions, aided  by  the  officials  of  the  Federal  and  State  governments,  have 
been  entirely  suppressed." 

This  was  in  marked  contrast  with  the  Wells  testimony,  the 
Ku  Klux  hunt  he  was  carrying  on. 

The  truthful  color  of  the  Mississippi  conditions,  given  by 
Governor  Powers  and  General  Emory,  did  not  conform  to  the 
policy  of  the  administration  nor  the  purposes  of  the  fee  hunting 
officers  of  the  Federal  Courts.  Conformity  was,  however,  soon 
established.  March  6th  General  Emory  forwarded  a  letter  to 
the  war  department  from  Lieutenant  King,  aide-de-camp,  say- 
ing: 

"Great  lawlessness  exists  throughout  the  entire  State  of  Mississippi, 
but  it  all  cannot  be  ascribed  to  the  Ku  Klux  organization,  as  the  trial  of 
several  prominent  members  of  the  gang  and  their  confinement  in  the  post 
guard  house  has  done  much  toward  their  disbandment.  Nevertheless 
there  is  a  bitter,  resentful  spirit  in  every  portion  of  the  State  against  the 
Federal  Government,  and  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  when  unsupported 
by  regular  troops  the  authorities  are  defied  and  their  lives  are  threat- 
ened by  desperadoes  they  are  constantly  called  on  to  arrest." 

United  States  Marshals  Pierce  and  Shaughnessey  and  District 
Attorney  Wiley  Wells  are  given  as  authority  for  these  state- 
ments. In  a  letter  of  March  8th  General  Emory  says: 

"Last  month  I  went  to  Jackson  to  see  Governor  Powers,  who  had  sent 
me  various  communications  asking  for  troops.  I  am  perfectly  satisfied 
from  that  visit  these  representations  are  well  founded,  and  there  is  need 
of  more  cavalry  in  that  State.  And  acting  on  the  principle  that  preven- 
tion is  better  than  intervention,  I  request  one  more  company  of  cavalry 
to  be  posted  in  Mississippi.  To  avoid  all  legal  complications  it  has  been 
arranged  between  the  Governor  and  the  U.  S.  Marshal  of  the  Northern 
District,  between  whom  there  is  the  best  understanding,  that  all  requi- 
sitions shall  be  made  by  civil  officers  of  the  United  States,  and  I  feel  con- 
fident I  shall  be  able  by  timely  use  of  troops  to  maintain  order  without 
collision." 

As  General  Emory  visited  Jackson  during  court,  while  the 
spectacle  of  a  great  outrage  on  hundreds  of  honest  and  unoffend- 
ing citizens  was  being  displayed,  his  impressions  of  the  need  of 


i66  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

troops  were  natural.  Naturally  the  air  was  full  of  the  bitter 
and  resentful  spirit  toward  the  authors  and  the  agents  of  a 
monstrous  wrong.  Governor  Powers  was  easily  swayed  by 
others.  What  he  said  to  General  Emory  and  the  countenance 
he  gave  to  the  raids  of  Wells  and  Jacobson  was  not  consistent 
with  other  of  his  expressions.  In  a  speech  in  the  Senate  May 
21,  1872,  Governor  Alcorn  quoted  a  letter  he  had  from  him, 
dated  May  isth,  saying  that  "the  condition  of  the  State  was 
peace  throughout  all  her  borders."  Governor  Alcorn  also  said, 
"all  the  acts  of  violence  are  ascribed  to  the  Ku  Klux,  but  no 
prisoner  caught  in  disguise,  I  am  ready  to  confess,  was  punished 
while  I  was  Governor,  by  the  State  courts,  and  none  have  been 
punished  by  the  Federal  Court." 

All  through  the  first  half  of  1872,  until  the  summer  Federal 
Court  term  was  held,  the  Ku  Klux  persecutions  were  kept  up, 
to  the  enrichment  of  Wells  and  Jacobson  and  the  other  court 
officials.  In  the  Southern  District,  however,  the  crop  of  out- 
rages was  small  by  comparison  with  the  Northern.  The  field  of 
operations  was  restricted  to  Lauderdale  and  Newton  Counties. 
The  circumstances  of  these  disorders  have  been  narrated.  In 
settlement  of  the  prosecutions  against  them,  fifty  citizens  of  the 
two  counties  plead  guilty  at  the  summer,  1872,  term  of  the 
Federal  Court.  The  minimum  fine  and  costs  were  imposed  and 
they  were  released.  The  most  of  the  fifty  were  prosecuted  for 
their  share  in  the  Meridian  riot,  which  even  the  partisan  con- 
gressional committee  did  not  charge  as  a  violation  of  the  En- 
forcement Act.  The  travesty  of  the  indictment  of  one  hundred 
and  fifty  men,  in  the  Jackson  court,  is  in  the  fact  that  not  one 
of  them  all  suffered  a  day  of  imprisonment,  the  only  man  so 
punished  was  the  negro  Adam  Kennard,  a  bona  fide  Ku  Klux 
victim.  In  the  passage  quoted  from  Mayes'  Life  of  Lamar  it  is 
shown  how  the  mainspring  of  fees  moved,  in  unison  with  the 
Republican  party's  campaign  need  of  a  "Ku  Klux  conspiracy." 
But  for  this  incentive  of  greed  for  fees,  the  act  would  have  been 
an  insignificant  one  in  Mississippi.  The  local  disorders,  dis- 
torted into  a  Ku  Klux  conspiracy,  would  have  died  under  the 
frown  of  public  opinion,  and  the  exercise  of  local  authority. 
The  Klan  would  have  lacked  the  sympathy  which  was  forced 
through  the  repugnance  aroused  by  the  Federal  inquisition  into 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  167 

local  disorders;  the  persecution  of  many  innocent  people  for 
the  profit  of  a  gang  of  corrupt  officials. 

In  his  final  Ku  Klux  report  to  the  Attorney-General,  District 
Attorney  Wells  claimed  to  have  secured  indictments  against 
678  Enforcement  Act  violators.  Of  these  230  were  "disposed  of" 
— 446  having  been  convicted.  This  read  well  as  a  campaign 
document,  but  the  impression  conveyed  was  wholly  false. 
There  were  no  jury  convictions.  Indictments  which  were  found 
out  by  wholesale  were  satisfied  upon  pleas  of  guilty,  or  nolo 
contenetere,  under  agreements  negotiated  outside  of  court  of 
release  upon  payment  of  nominal  fines,  fees  and  costs.  The  fee 
of  the  District  Attorney  was  twenty  dollars  in  each  case.  After 
a  lecture  from  the  court  and  bond  for  future  good  behavior,  the 
prisoners  were  released.  Attorneys  for  the  defendants  know- 
ing they  were  playing  against  loaded  dice,  that  the  juries  were 
organized  to  convict,  and  that  suborned  witnesses  were  at  hand, 
advised  their  clients  to  enter  such  pleas,  regardless  of  the  ques- 
tion of  guilt  or  innocence.  Judge  A.  A.  Hill  was  severely  criti- 
cised for  allowing  such  prostitution  of  the  court.  While  this 
was  censurable  there  was  extenuation.  In  the  first  place  Judge 
Hill  was  not  a  man  to  battle  for  a  cause.  But  he  possessed  a 
kindly  heart.  Throughout  the  Ku  Klux  period  he  sought  to 
ameliorate  wrongs  he  was  not  brave  enough  to  grapple  with. 
And  by  a  policy  of  placation  he  averted  the  cruel  oppressions 
that  were  inflicted  in  the  Carolinas,  where  hundreds  of  men  con- 
victed as  Ku  Klux  suffered  in  jail,  and  many  served  terms  in 
Northern  penitentiaries.  There  is  no  doubt,  besides,  that  had 
Judge  Hill  arraigned  the  officers  of  his  court  for  their  corrupt 
and  tyrannical  practices,  he  would  have  been  made  to  give  place 
for  a  worse.  As  it  was  upon  complaints  that  Judge  Hill  lacked 
zeal  in  the  cause  Ames  sought  to  have  him  removed. 

District  Attorney  Wells  was  ably  assisted  in  his  campaign 
against  the  Ku  Klux  by  the  foreman  of  the  grand  jury,  Internal 
Revenue  Collector  Emory.  The  two  had  been  intimately  asso- 
ciated, Wells  having  been  promoted  to  his  position  from  a  clerk- 
ship in  Emory's  office.  A  department  inspector  having  reported 
the  internal  revenue  collector  short  forty  or  fifty  thousand  dol- 
lars, he  was  removed  from  office.  There  was  an  attempt  to 
saddle  the  theft  on  an  absconded  subordinate  whose  escape  the 


1 68  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Holly  Springs  Reporter  accused  Wells  of  conniving  in.  An 
indictment  was  due  Emory  at  the  Ku  Klux  court  term.  But 
being  needed  by  the  government  he  was  appointed  foreman  of 
the  grand  jury  instead,  and  with  Wells  ran  the  campaign. 
Abuses  of  the  law  multiplied  and  became  more  flagrant.  With 
the  example  of  their  superiors  to  inspire  them  the  deputy  mar- 
shals did  business  upon  their  own  volition.  They  obtained 
warrants  from  United  States  commissioners  equally  as  rascally 
and  irresponsible  as  themselves,  earning  mileage  and  fees  for 
batches  of  citizens  arrested  on  all  manner  of  frivolous  charges. 
Their  malpractices  were  too  much  like  killing  the  goose  that 
laid  golden  eggs  for  Wells  and  Jacobson  to  be  tolerated.  One 
deputy  was  indicted  upon  the  affidavit  of  a  victim  that  he  had 
been  arrested  and  released,  on  payment  of  a  fine  of  $100,  the 
deputy  constituting  himself  judge  and  jury.  To  put  a  stop  to 
such  usurpations  of  the  prerogatives  of  the  robbers  by  authority, 
Judge  Hill  ordered  that  no  warrants  should  be  issued  unless 
approved  by  United  States  District  Attorneys.  Unfortunately 
this  order  was  not  made  until  just  before  the  expiration  of  the 
time  limitation  of  the  law.  The  bill  for  extending  its  operations 
passed  the  Senate,  but  failed  in  the  House,  in  spite  of  the  utmost 
efforts  of  the  administration.  And  with  the  expiration  of  the 
Ku  Klux  law  and  hunts,  disappeared  the  Ku  Klux  "outrages." 
But  they  had  served  their  dual  purpose,  the  enrichment  of  the 
court  officials  and  the  provision  of  campaign  ammunition. 

Garner's  Reconstruction  in  Mississippi  contains  the  following 
perverted  view  of  the  Ku  Klux  in  Mississippi: 

"It  was  not,  however,  until  the  readmission  of  the  State  to  the  Union 
that  the  Ku  Klux  disturbances  became  alarming  and  threatened  to  sub- 
vert the  peace  and  order  of  the  State.  The  passing  of  the  freedmen's 
bureau,  in  1869,  with  its  officials  in  every  community  and  the  withdrawal 
of  a  majority  of  the  troops  removed  a  restraint  which  had  to  a  great 
extent  curbed  the  lawless  spirit." 

That  there  is  nothing  in  the  facts  to  justify  the  statement  that 
"Ku  Klux  disturbances  threatened  to  subvert  the  peace  and 
order  of  the  State,"  or  that  there  was  any  prevalence  of  lawless- 
ness in  the  State  in  1868  or  1869,  in  fact  not  until  February, 
1871,  a  year  after  "the  State's  readmission;"  quotations  from 
the  testimony  of  witnesses  before  the  congressional  committee 
proves.  Except  for  a  few  months  immediately  after  the  war, 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  169 

there  was  nothing  in  the  action  or  the  attitude  of  the  people  of 
the  State  deserving  to  be  characterized  as  a  "lawless  spirit." 
In  strict  truth  the  people  of  the  State  were  too  intelligent  to 
indulge  in  or  tolerate  lawlessness — their  responsibilities  and 
necessities,  moreover,  compelled  the  duty  of  law  and  order. 
While  Governor  Alcorn  expressed  his  "apprehension  of  an 
organized  resistance  to  law,"  he  specifically  limited  the  dis- 
orders; he  said  that  "a  class  of  lawlessness  the  most  violent  pro- 
ceeds in  a  few  quarters  in  the  person  of  the  masked  assassin." 
Speaking  of  a  tabulated  list  of  murders  in  a  group  of  twenty 
counties,  in  which  Holmes,  which  was  not  in  the  "masked  assas- 
sin" list,  led  all  the  rest,  he  said  "the  crimes  do  not  represent 
any  organized  opposition  to  the  law." 

In  the  excitement  of  the  election  of  1867  and  1868,  the  troops 
were  often  "a  restraint  curbing"  the  turbulence  of  the  negroes — 
they  were  never  so  regarded  by  the  whites.  There  was  some 
misuse  of  them  while  Ames  was  military  Governor.  But  as  a 
rule,  if  not  invariably,  the  sentiment  of  the  troops,  and  espec- 
ially the  non-commissioned  officers  and  privates,  was  hostile 
to  the  negro.  Sometimes,  particularly  in  supporting  the  United 
States  deputy  marshals  in  their  round-ups  of  Ku  Klux,  in  1871, 
they  were  used  as  a  menace  to  the  whites  who  were  not  "lawless." 
But  as  a  rule  their  presence  was  acceptable  to  the  whites  and 
resented  by  the  radical  leaders  and  the  negro  masses. 

As  to  the  freedmen's  bureau  and  its  influence  as  "a  curb"  on 
lawlessness,  the  institution  had  faded  into  innocuous  desuetude 
before  its  formal  passing.  It  was  inimical  in  design  and  opera- 
tion to  the  Southern  white  people.  It  was  created  and,  as  a 
a  rule,  operated  under  the  theory  that  all  slave  owners  were 
oppressors  and  wrongdoers,  and  that  the  bureau  agents  were 
expected  to  protect  the  negroes  from  oppression  and  wrong. 
Under  this  theory  there  was  inevitably  more  stimulation  than 
restraint  of  lawlessness  and  discontent.  Some  officials  honestly 
sought  to  deal  justly  with  all  and  allay  distrust  and  unrest. 
These  were  the  exceptions  among  the  local  agents.  Memory  of 
the  writer  and  the  newspaper  files  of  the  period  sustain  the  truth 
of  the  following,  from  the  minority  committee's  report: 

"Under  the  workings  of  the  reconstruction  and  freedmen's  bureau  acts 
the  foundation  of  social  and  political  order  were  uprooted  and  overturned. 


170  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

The  former  slave  became  the  master  and  the  former  master  became  the 
slave,  the  elector  the  lawmaker  and  the  ostensible  ruler.  The  agents 
of  the  freedmen's  bureau  were,  as  we  have  shown  before,  generally  of  a 
class  of  favorites  without  character  or  responsibility,  and  were  selected 
as  fit  instruments  to  execute  the  partisan  and  unconstitutional  behests 
of  a  most  unscrupulous  head.  Thus  the  negroes  were  organized  into 
secret  political  societies  known  as  Loyal  Leagues,  in  which  they  were 
taught  that  their  former  owners  were  their  worst  enemies,  and  that  to 
act  with  them  politically  would  certainly  result  in  their  re-instatement. 
A  regulation  of  this  bureau  required  all  agreements  for  service  between 
whites  and  blacks  to  be  signed  and  witnessed  and  left  in  the  custody  of 
the  agent.  It  was  a  common  practice,  after  a  planter  or  farmer  had 
contracted  with  the  freedman  for  a  year,  had  his  crops  planted  and  in 
process  of  cultivation,  that  the  negro  laborer  would  strike  for  higher 
wages.  Nothing  but  instructions  of  the  bureau  agent  could  induce  them 
to  return,  and  that  inducement  could  only  be  effected  by  their  employer 
paying  to  the  agent  from  ten  to  twenty  dollars  per  head.  This  sum  was 
simply  the  perquisite  of  the  agent,  and  when  paid  the  negro  always 
returned,  though  without  additional  compensation.  It  was  frequently 
the  case  that  the  same  planter  or  farmer  would  have  to  compensate  the 
bureau  agent  from  two  to  three  times  during  one  year,  or  lose  his  crop. 
This  system  of  infamous  blackmailing  produced  no  little  irritation  and 
frequently  the  planter's  bankruptcy.  The  bureau  agents  had  authority 
to  order  the  arrest  of  and  imprisonment  of  any  citizen  on  the  single 
statement  of  any  vicious  negro,  and  if  resistance  was  made  to  the  agent's 
mandate  the  post  commandant  was  ready  to  enforce  it  with  a  file  of 
bayonets." 

In  some  of  the  Southern  States  the  real  Ku  Klux  outrages 
extended  over  a  wider  area  and  prevailed  for  a  longer  period 
than  in  Mississippi.  But  in  all  they  were  restricted  to  a  com- 
paratively few  counties  and  soon  ran  their  evil  and  misguided 
course.  This  any  fair  reading  of  the  evidence  taken  proves. 
In  no  State  did  the  truth  in  any  sense  or  degree  warrant  the 
committee's  majority  conclusion: 

"That  all  the  ills  of  the  Southern  condition,  the  lawlessness,  the  intimi- 
dation, the  violence,  the  increased  expenses,  the  diminishing  resources 
and  depressed  credit,  the  keeping  put  of  capital,  the  lowering  of  land 
values,  are  the  effects  of  a  conspiracy  formed  before  reconstruction. 
The  organizers  and  managers  of  the  conspiracy,  known  as  the  Ku  Klux 
Klan,  or  invisible  empire  of  the  South  which  has  produced  these  effects 
must  have  anticipated  them  before  they  occurred,  and  understood  them 
while  they  were  transpiring.  These  leaders  are  men  of  high  intelligence, 
and  they  must  have  intended  the  results  they  produced.  Their  purpose 
must  have  been  to  close  the  South  against  Northern  men  and  capital; 
to  hold  the  freedmen  helpless  and  dependent ;  to  govern  the  States  and 
finally  the  country,  and  thus  recover  what  they  valued  more  than  all 
else — property  in  slaves  and  political  power." 

All  reason  and  all  proof  of  circumstance  refutes  this  wickedly 
false  perversion  of  the  facts.  The  calumny  has  perished,  leaving 
nothing  but  a  record  of  the  revolting  baseness  of  reconstruction, 


Ku  Klux  Klan  in  Mississippi. — McNeilly.  171 

the  incredible  infamy  of  a  party  that  was  capable  of  bolstering 
up  a  failing  policy  by  nourishing  the  hostility  of  the  powerful 
and  prosperous  North  against  the  prostrate  and  impoverished 
South,  through  such  falsehoods.  No  consideration  was  given, 
no  thought  taken,  by  the  radical  leaders  of  the  sad  state  to  which 
the  war  had  reduced  the  Southern  people.  Their  hardships 
and  humiliations  excited  no  compunction  and  prompted  no 
justice — no  conquered  country  was  ever  placed  so  completely 
beyond  the  pale  of  fair  and  generous  treatment.  The  committee 
minority  thus  stated  their  view,  the  true  one,  of  the  Southern 
situation : 

"The  atrocious  measures  by  which  millions  of  white  people  have  been 
put  at  the  mercy  of  the  semi-barbarous  negroes  of  the  South,  and  the 
vilest  white  people  of  the  North  and  South,  leaders  of  the  black  hordes, 
are  now  sought  to  be  justified  by  defaming  the  people  upon  whom  this 
unspeakable  outrage  had  been  committed.  *  *  *  While  we  do  not 
deny  that  bodies  of  disguised  men  have,  in  several  of  the  States  of  the 
South,  been  guilty  of  the  most  flagrant  crimes,  crimes  which  we  neither 
seek  to  palliate  nor  excuse,  we  deny  that  these  men  have  any  general 
organization,  or  any  political  significance,  or  that  their  conduct  is  en- 
dorsed by  any  respectable  number  of  the  white  people  in  any  State ;  on 
the  contrary,  the  men  and  the  bands  by  which  such  outrages  are  per- 
petrated are  almost  universally  regarded  by  the  intelligent  people  as  the 
worst  enemies  of  the  South,  as  they  furnish  the  men  now  in  power  at 
Washington  the  only  excuse  to  maintain  war  upon  them,  and  to  continue 
the  system  of  robbery  and  oppression  which  they  have  inaugurated — a 
system  which  is  destructive  not  only  of  their  peace  and  prosperity,  but 
is  intended  to  blacken  and  malign  their  characters  as  men  before  the 
country  and  the  world.  We  will  show  by  testimony  incontrovertible 
that  in  no  one  of  the  six  States  of  North  and  South  Carolina,  Georgia, 
Alabama,  Florida  and  Mississippi,  has  there  at  any  time  existed  combi- 
nations of  lawless  men  in  one-tenth  part  of  any  one  of  said  States.  *  * 
We  dp  not  fear  successful  contradiction  when  we  say  there  never  was  a 
disguised  band  in  over  forty  of  the  420  counties  of  these  six  States,  and 
we  will  show  to  all  men  not  blinded  by  prejudice  and  passion  that  the 
Ku  Klux  bill  and  the  proceedings  thereunder  are  the  gravest  outrage, 
the  foulest  calumny  ever  perpetrated  or  circulated  against  a  helpless 
people  by  their  rulers." 


A  TRIP  FROM  HOUSTON  TO  JACKSON,  MISS.,  IN  1845. 

BY  J.  A.  ORR.1 

There  was  a  calm  in  the  financial  world  following  the  crash 
brought  about  by  what  is  known  as  the  "flush  times  of  Alabama 
and  Mississippi."  When  one  views  the  ocean  after  a  terrible 
storm  one  sees  here  and  there  bits  of  wreckage  and  flotsam, 
marking  the  unseen  graves  of  those  who  have  perished  there. 
So  it  was  in  Mississippi  after  the  financial  panic  of  1837.  There 
existed  in  various  localities  wrecks  of  what  were  magnificent 
structures  before  this  awful  financial  storm. 

The  political  year  was  full  of  excitement  and  interest.  The 
Democratic  convention  met  at  Jackson  on  the  5th  day  of  July, 
1845,  to  nominate  candidates  for  the  State  offices  and  for  four 
Congressmen.  As  the  State  had  not  then  been  laid  off  into  Con- 
gressional districts,  our  members  of  Congress  were  elected  from 
the  State  at  large.  The  Senatorial  pot  was  also  boiling,  and 
the  canvass  had  already  opened,  with  Governor  McNutt,  General 
Foote,  General  Quitman,  Roger  Barton,  and  Gov.  Joseph  W. 
Matthews  as  aspirants  for  that  honor. 

For  the  office  of  attorney-general  there  was  an  array  of  tal- 
ented young  men,  who  afterward  became  distinguished,  com- 
peting for  the  nomination.  The  incumbent  was  Gen.  John  D. 
Freeman.  Opposing  him  were  Wiley  P.  Harris,  then  of  Monti- 
cello;  Gen.  D.  C.  Glenn,  of  Holly  Springs;  Frank  Smith,  of  Can- 
ton, and  Gen.  W.  S.  Featherston,  of  Houston.  Harris,  Glenn 
and  Featherston  were  each  about  twenty -five  years  of  age,  and 
three  candidates  for  this  office  rarely  ever  presented  a  more 
youthful  appearance.  It  was  important  for  each  candidate  to 
have  a  numerous  delegation  from  his  own  county.  This  will 
account,  perhaps,  for  the  fact  that  the  writer,  then  only  seven- 
teen years  of  age,  was  one  of  the  delegates  from  Chickasaw 
County.  He  is  now  (1906)  the  only  surviving  member  of  that 
convention. 

•A  biographical  sketch  of  the  author  of  this  contribution  will  be  found 
in  the  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  Vol.  VIII,  p.  187. 
— EDITOR. 

(«73) 


174  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

It  was  before  the  days  of  railroads,  and  buggies  and  horseback 
were  the  only  modes  of  conveyance  to  the  seat  of  government. 
General  Featherston  and  the  writer  left  Houston  in  a  buggy  the 
latter  part  of  June,  General  Featherston  taking  a  circuitous 
route  to  see  as  many  delegates  to  the  convention  as  possible 
before  their  arrival  at  Jackson. 

The  first  objective  point  was  Grenada,  where  the  Baptist  State 
Convention  was  in  session.  One  of  the  three  persons  making  the 
deepest  impression  upon  the  writer's  mind  at  that  time  was  the 
Rev.  Dr.  Parr,  whose  eloquence  thrilled  his  audience,  and  whose 
ability  and  captivating  oratory,  according  to  the  youthful  con- 
ception of  the  writer,  has  never  in  all  the  after  years  been  sur- 
passed. The  other  two  were  General  Featherston  and  Miss  Whit- 
field,  of  Aberdeen,  as  handsome  a  couple  as  ever  walked  up  the 
aisle  of  the  densely  crowded  church  where  Doctor  Parr  preached. 
The  General  was  tall  and  looked  every  inch  a  man,  and  she  was 
a  lady  of  remarkable  beauty  and  was  greatly  admired.  There- 
after their  paths  in  life  separated;  each  married,  left  families, 
and  have  perhaps  met  in  the  spirit  land. 

From  Grenada  our  journey  led  us  to  Lexington,  Yazoo  City 
and  Canton,  and  then  to  the  capital.  To  properly  appreciate  a 
narrative  of  this  trip  and  the  strange  scenes  witnessed  along  the 
road  we  must  understand  what  had  been  the  financial  condition 
of  the  country  previous  to  that  time.  There  were  banks  with 
capital  stocks  which  ran  into  the  millions,  and  in  which  the  people 
placed  infinite  trust.  They  were  headed  by  men  whose  financial 
integrity  was  unquestioned;  and  yet,  with  all  their  money  and 
strength,  they  were  wrecked  in  the  financial  storm.  Here  is  a 
list  of  these  banks,  and  the  careful  observer  will  notice  that  their 
financial  rating  is  not  now  surpassed  in  this  great  State,  with  its 
more  than  two  hundred  banks,  having  millions  of  capital,  and 
with  its  increase  of  population  and  its  unprecedented  growth. 

Names  of  Banks.  Capital  Stock. 

Agricultural  Bank $4,  212,  ooo  oo 

Planters  Bank 2,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Commercial  and  Railroad  Bank  of  Vicksburg 4,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Grand  Gulf  Railroad  and  Banking  Company 2,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

West  Feliciana  Railroad  and  Banking  Company i,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Commercial  Bank  of  Natchez 3,  100,  ooo  oo 

Commercial  Bank  of  Manchester 2,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Commercial  Bank  of  Columbus i,  ooo,  ooo  oo 


A  Trip  from  Houston  to  Jackson,  Miss.,  in  1845. — Orr.   175 

Names  of  Banks.  Capital  Stock. 

Commercial  Bank  of  Rodney *     800,  ooo  oo 

Tombigbee    Railroad    Company z,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Mississippi   and   Alabama  Railroad   and   Banking  Com- 
pany   4,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Bank  of  Vicksburg 2,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Bank  of  Grenada ' i,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Bank  of  Lexington 800,  ooo  oo 

Bank  of  Port  Gibson i ,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Vicksburg  Waterworks  and  Banking  Company 500,  ooo  oo 

Northern  Bank  of  Mississippi 2,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Hernando  Railroad  and  Banking  Company i,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Mississippi  Railroad  Company 8,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Citizens  Bank  of  Madison  County i,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Bank  of  Mississippi 600,  ooo  oo 

Mississippi  Union  Bank 15,  500,  ooo  oo 

Aberdeen  and  Pontotoc  Banking  Company i ,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Benton  and  Manchester  Banking  Company i,  ooo,  ooo  oo 

Branches  of  Agricultural  and  Planters  Banks  at  Frank- 
lin and  Tchula i ,  ooo,  ooo  oo 


Total  amount  of  capital $62,  512,  ooo  oo 

It  is  a  beautiful  and  fertile  country  through  Holmes,  Yazoo 
and  Madison  Counties,  over  which  we  traveled.  Many  planta- 
tions had  been  recently  opened,  and  on  some  of  them  elegant  res- 
idences had  been  erected.  The  owners  had  freely  indorsed  for 
each  other  in  the  banks,  and  hundreds  of  thousands  of  dollars 
had  been  invested  in  negroes,  brought  from  Virginia  and  the 
Carolinas.  When  the  storm  broke  over  the  banks  the  suits  were 
so  numerous  in  the  courts  that  some  of  the  lawyers  had  their 
declarations  in  assumpsit  printed  by  the  quire,  leaving  blanks 
only  for  the  names  of  the  debtor,  creditor  and  the  amounts.  In 
each  of  these  counties  an  immense  number  of  judgments  had  been 
obtained  and  the  aggregate  indebtedness  had  run  into  millions. 
A  great  number  of  these  plantations  in  1845  were  uncultivated. 
The  fences  had  fallen  down,  the  homes  and  outhouses  were  ten- 
antless  and  bespoke  widespread  desolation.  We  learned  the 
history  of  the  times  from  the  lawyers  at  Lexington,  Yazoo  City 
and  Canton.  With  these  General  Featherston  talked  as  to  his 
candidacy  before  the  coming  convention.  We  were  told  that 
as  a  general  thing  on  the  evening  before  abandonment  those  large 
plantations  would  present  no  unusual  appearance.  The  stock 
would  be  in  the  stables,  properly  attended  to;  the  cows  would 
be  in  the  cowpen;  the  hogs  would  be  called  and  fed;  the  sheep 
would  be  herded ;  the  plantation  negroes  would  be  in  their  proper 
places,  and  over  all  the  hush  of  evening  and  the  stillness  of  night 


176  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

would  fall.  On  the  morning  following  the  smoke  would  curl 
from  the  chimneys,  from  residence  and  quarters,  the  cows  would 
be  lowing  in  the  pen,  the  sheep  bleating  in  the  fold,  the  hogs  in 
their  place;  not  a  wagon  gone,  not  a  vehicle  missing;  the  meat 
left  in  the  smokehouse,  the  poultry  raising  their  usual  disturb- 
ance— and  not  a  human  being,  nor  horse,  nor  mule,  nor  saddle, 
nor  bridle  on  the  whole  place.  Every  negro,  every  horse,  every 
mule  spirited  away  in  the  darkness  of  the  night — the  negro 
women  and  children  on  horses  and  mules,  the  men  on  foot,  all, 
all  in  a  double-quick  march  for  Texas,  then  a  foreign  govern- 
ment. The  first  object  was  to  get  across  the  county  line,  the 
next  to  cross  the  Mississippi  River,  and  the  next  to  cross  the  line 
of  the  Republic  of  Texas.  All  this  had  to  be  done  before  the 
executions  could  issue  and  be  placed  in  the  hands  of  the  sheriffs 
of  the  different  counties.  Family  carriages  were  left  motionless 
to  avoid  creating  any  suspicion,  the  white  families  having  taken 
their  trips  to  neighboring  towns,  where  the  stage  lines  would 
convey  them  to  points  of  safety — generally  steamboat  landings 
on  the  Mississippi — on  their  way  to  Texas.  Even  in  the  city  of 
Columbus  there  remain  on  file  in  the  circuit  clerk's  office  printed 
declarations,  containing  not  only  the  names  of  the  plaintiff's 
banks,  but  in  some  cases  the  names  of  the  defendants.  This 
will  convey  an  idea  of  the  immense  indebtedness  to  the  banks  of 
the  country  and  of  the  universality  of  endorsements  and  personal 
securities.  The  immovable  property  was  all  that  the  executions 
could  reach.  After  this  came  hundreds  of  suits  by  holders  of 
bank  notes. 

When  we  arrived  at  Jackson  the  saloons  in  the  city  and  the 
hotels  were  crowded  with  anxious  politicians  and  statesmen  and 
their  friends.  Governor  A.  G.  Brown  had  no  opposition  for  a 
re-nomination  for  a  second  term  as  governor.  The  most  active 
canvass  for  any  of  the  State  offices  was  made  by  the  friends  of 
the  candidates  for  attorney-general.  Wiley  P.  Harris,  Feath- 
erston  and  Frank  Smith  were  defeated  by  a  coalition  between 
the  friends  of  Freeman  and  Glenn,  by  which  Freeman  was  re-nom- 
inated for  a  second  term  and  Glenn  came  in  as  the  nominee  four 
years  thereafter  and  served  for  eight  years  in  that  office  with  dis- 
tinguished ability.  He  was  a  beautiful  speaker,  elegant,  grace- 
ful and  eloquent. 


A  Trip  from  Houston  to  Jackson,  Miss.,  in  1845. — Orr.   177 

The  most  intense  feeling  was  developed  in  the  convention 
between  the  friends  of  Jefferson  Davis  and  of  Doctor  Gwinn.  It 
was  the  policy  of  the  party  to  preserve  harmony  by  nominating 
candidates  with  reference  to  geographical  position.  The  State 
was  entitled  to  four  members  of  Congress,  and  they  were  taken 
from  the  four  different  sections  of  the  State.  In  the  northwest 
Jacob  Thompson  had  no  opposition  for  re-nomination.  Judge 
Stephen  Adams,  of  Monroe,  and  Col.  Geo.  H.  Young,  of  Lowndes, 
were  the  candidates  from  the  northeastern  district.  They  were 
men  of  different  types  of  character.  Young  was  a  man  of 
courtly  and  princely  manners,  refined,  cultivated,  hightoned,  an 
aristocrat  by  birth.  He  was  a  type — of  whom  we  had  hundreds 
throughout  the  South — misunderstood  and  not  appreciated  by 
the  Northern  people  either  before  or  since  the  great  war  of 
secession.  A  grander,  nobler  type  of  citizenship  never  lived  in 
any  government  or  country.  They  knew  that  they  belonged  to 
the  master  race.  Their  selfishness  and  their  keen  sense  of  honor 
united  to  make  them  brave,  discreet  and  conscientious,  and  they 
were  never  surpassed  in  the  qualities  by  the  bravest  Roman  or 
the  noblest  Briton.  The  value  of  the  negro  appealed  to  the  sel- 
fishness of  the  owner  for  his  protection.  Healthful  food,  good 
clothing,  prompt  medical  attention,  moderate  work  were  essen- 
tial factors  in  maintaining  his  money  value  to  the  owner.  A 
knowledge  of  superiority,  the  right  to  dominate  the  will  of  the 
slave,  the  power  to  enforce  absolute  obedience  carried  in  the 
minds  of  such  men  as  Geo.  H.  Young  a  high  sense  of  moral 
responsibility.  It  was  a  very  rare  thing  that  a  church  was 
erected  without  a  gallery  for  the  accommodation  of  the  negroes, 
and  in  many  localities  the  Sabbath  was  far  better  observed  than 
it  is  at  the  present  time  by  either  our  white  or  our  black  popu- 
lation. 

Judge  Adams  was  a  "self-made"  man.  He  was  of  humble 
origin  and  of  moderate  literary  attainments.  He  was  a  man  of 
integrity,  full  of  energy,  had  won  his  way  to  a  circuit  judgeship, 
and  was  emphatically  "one  of  the  boys."  He  was  nominated, 
elected,  and  afterwards  sent  to  the  United  States  Senate. 

Robert  W.  Roberts,  known  as  the  "War  Horse  of  the  Piney 
Woods,"  had  no  opposition  from  his  section  of  the  State. 


178  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

The  contest  became  bitter  in  the  southwestern  section.  Davis 
and  Gwinn  were  from  Warren  County,  and  the  fight  was  between 
two  rival  factions.  Gwinn  was  a  man  of  fine  ability,  and  had 
previously  been  much  more  intimately  connected  with  the  pol- 
iticians of  the  State  than  Davis.  But  this  had  also  caused 
Gwinn  to  make  many  antagonists.  The  nomination  was  not 
made  until  the  second  day  of  the  convention.  On  the  night 
before  the  city  of  Jackson  was  placarded  with  a  violent  assault 
on  Doctor  Gwinn,  in  which,  among  other  things,  he  was  charged 
with  having  been  instrumental  in  the  killing  of  Doctor  Hagan, 
the  influential  editor  of  the  Vicksburg  Sentinel.  Vicksburg  had 
been  a  bloody  city,  and  Hagan  had  many  friends  throughout 
the  State.  The  contest  was  close,  but  Davis  was  nominated. 

The  people  of  Mississippi,  after  the  adjournment  of  that  con- 
vention, were  entertained  with  political  discussions  between  the 
ablest  representatives  of  the  Democratic  and  Whig  parties  in 
the  State.  At  the  election  just  preceding  the  one  in  1845  the 
presidential  contest  between  Polk  and  Clay  was  earnest  and  close 
and  at  the  election  preceding  that  the  State  went  for  General  Har- 
rison, the  Whig  candidate.  Davis  canvassed  the  entire  State, 
and  established  a  reputation  as  an  orator  inferior  to  none  except 
Prentiss,  and  that  reputation  he  sustained  in  the  United  States 
Senate. 

The  people  became  greatly  interested  in  the  memorable  con- 
test between  McNutt  and  Foote  for  the  United  States  Senate. 
They  were  attendants  on  the  convention  in  Jackson  in  July,  their 
canvass  having  already  opened.  Dense  crowds  gathered 
wherever  they  had  an  appointment  to  speak.  The  candidates 
were  personal  enemies.  McNutt  would  never  notice  Foote, 
would  not  divide  time  with  him,  and  silently  treated  him  with 
profound  contempt.  He  would  open  his  speech  at  u  o'clock 
and  speak  until  3,  gather  up  his  papers  and  leave  without  allud- 
ing to  Foote  in  any  way  or  paying  the  slightest  attention  to  him. 
The  rest  of  the  time  would  be  occupied  by  Foote.  The  country 
audiences  would  go  home  in  the  dark. 


THE   PRESIDENTIAL   CAMPAIGN   OF    1844   IN   MISSIS- 
SIPPI. 

BY  JAMES  ELLIOTT  WALMSLEY.* 

There  is  a  striking,  even  if  superficial,  resemblance  between 
the  period  of  National  politics  from  1836  to  1852  and  that  from 
1880  to  1896.  In  both  periods  there  was  the  rhythmic  swing  of 
success  and  failure,  and  each  period  was  distinguished  by  the 
prominence  of  a  brilliant  defeated  candidate.  James  G.  Elaine 
always  believed  that  his  course  was  a  repetition  of  the  fatality 
attending  Henry  Clay,  that  in  1884,  as  in  1844,  the  favorite  of 
the  party,  after  missing  the  nomination  when  the  party  was  in  a 
winning  position,  had  been  nominated  only  to  meet  defeat. 

After  the  dissolution  of  the  Federalist  party  in  the  time  of 
Monroe,  factional  fights  had  begun  at  once  between  the  leaders 
of  the  Republican  party,  but  there  was  no  formal  division  of  the 
voters  into  parties  until  1832,  when  the  "Jackson  men"  met  a 
determined  opposition.  It  was  impossible  to  defeat  the  popular 
hero  of  Chalmette  at  this  election,  and  his  personal  and  official 
influence  largely  assisted  in  putting  into  office  Van  Buren.  But 
in  1840  a  well  organized  Whig  movement  carried  into  office 
Harrison  and  Tyler.  In  this,  as  in  all  Presidential  elections 
before  the  war,  with  the  exception  of  1848,  Mississippi  obeyed 
the  impulse  which  swept  over  the  whole  country.  The  State 
had  not  yet  become  fixed  in  its  political  stagnation. 

The  causes  of  this  Whig  victory  are  not  hard  to  discover. 
Those  prevailing  in  Mississippi  were  the  ones  influencing  the 
rest  of  the  country.  Van  Buren  was  not  personally  popular. 
He  was  considered  a  master  in  that  brand  of  partisan  cunning 
then  known  as  "New  York  politics,"  but  now  not  confined  to 
any  one  section.  He  had  been  bitterly  opposed  in  Mississippi 
in  1 836 2,  and  had  barely  carried  the  State  in  the  election.  The 
wild  speculative  epoch  that  succeeded  the  closing  of  "The 
Bank,"  and  the  heroic  measures  introduced  by  the  "Specie 

'A  biographical  sketch  of  the  writer  of  this  contribution  will  be  found 
in  the  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  Vol.  VIII,  p.  81. — 
EDITOR. 

J  "Facts  in  the  Political  Life  of  Martin  Van  Buren,"  by  Amos  R.  John- 
ston, Clinton,  Mississippi;  September,  1836. 

(«79) 


i8o  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Circular,"  had  brought  on  the  fearful  panic  of  1837,  and  all 
troubles  were  charged  up  against  the  Van  Buren  administration. 
This  characteristic  fault  of  a  democracy  cannot  be  severely  cen- 
sured when  we  recall  how  prone  an  administration  is  to  take 
credit  for  all  the  prosperity  that  falls  in  its  time.  The  usual 
official  corruption  was  found  among  government  officers,  and 
the  popular  cry  was  raised,  "Turn  the  rascals  out."  This  was 
about  the  only  platform  adopted  by  the  Whigs,  it  was  anything 
to  beat  Van  Buren,  and  a  party  containing  such  opposing  wings 
as  those  represented  by  Tyler  and  Clay  could  not  hope  for 
permanent  success.  The  campaign  was  a  spectacular  one, 
"disgusting"  some  of  the  Whigs  said  privately,  and  "log  cabins, 
coons,  and  cider"  were  the  party  badge.  Dr.  Daevenport,  the 
author  of  "Humbuggiana,"  a  satiric  poem  written  in  Missis- 
sippi soon  after  this,  speaks  of  it  as  the  time 

"When  Humbug  stalk'd,  unfetter'd,  unrestrained, 
And  Coon  and  Cider  joint  protectors  reigned." 

Even  if  General  Harrison  had  lived,  a  reaction  must  have 
followed  this  election.  The  Whigs  had,  as  already  noticed,  no 
platform  except  dissatisfaction  with  Van  Buren's  administra- 
tion, and  when  they  brought  up  again  the  National  Bank  and 
Internal  Improvements,  and,  in  1842,  passed  a  Tariff  Bill  that 
did  not  carry  out  the  purposes  of  the  Compromise  Tariff  of  1833, 
their  new  found  friends  fell  away.  Among  these  was  Mr.  Tyler, 
who  had  never  been  an  "old  line  Whig,"  but  who  was  simply 
one  of  those  who  refused  to  be  dominated  by  the  Democratic 
machine.  Whether  the  separation  between  Tyler  and  the  Whig 
party  was  caused  by  his  desertion  or  by  the  party  leaders' 
aggressive  policy,  it  is  nevertheless  true  that  this  separation  was 
fatal  to  the  success  of  the  loosely  organized  party.  As  early  as 
the  fall  of  1841  the  Whigs  lost  elections  in  states  which  they 
had  just  carried,  among  others  in  Mississippi.  In  the  Congres- 
sional election  of  1842  the  Whig  majority  of  twenty-five  was 
changed  to  a  Democratic  majority  of  sixty-one. 

The  main  questions  on  which  the  issue  was  fought  out  in 
1844  were  the  Tariff  and  Texas.  The  latter  was  the  more  inter- 
esting, and,  in  Mississippi,  the  more  important,  but  in  the  North 
interest  was  about  equal  on  the  two  questions.  For  instance, 


Presidential  Campaign  of  1844. — Walmsley.  181 

in  Pennsylvania,  already  becoming  a  manufacturing  State,  the 
tariff  was  of  so  much  importance,  and  the  protective  sentiment 
had  become  so  strong,  that  some  of  Mr.  Folk's  diplomatic 
utterances  were  interpreted  as  being  favorable  to  a  high  tariff, 
and  the  local  leaders  represented  him  as  a  "better  tariff  man 
than  Clay."  As  early  as  November  17,  1838,  John  C.  Calhoun 
had  foreseen  this  question.  In  a  letter  to  Armistead  Burt,*  he 
says:  "Revenue,  under  the  compromise,  has  been  regularly 
falling  off  for  some  time,  while  the  expenditures  have  been 
regularly  increasing,  till  we  have  reached  a  point  where  the  lat- 
ter greatly  exceed  the  former,  with  an  increasing  diminution  on 
its  part,  which  must  continue  till  the  year  1842.  It  follows  that 
one  of  three  things  must  speedily  take  place:  the  tariff  must  be 
renewed ;  a  new  debt  contracted ;  or  the  expenditures  be  reduced 
fully  one-half,  and  that  without  delay.  Our  policy  is  clear,  to 
adhere  to  the  compromise;  keep  down  the  tariff;  and  prevent 
the  creation  of  another  debt."  This  policy  of  economy  was  not 
adopted,  and  by  1844  a  large  proportion  of  the  people  were 
beginning  to  wish  for  a  higher  tariff.  Clay's  "American  Policy" 
was  wonderfully  popular  with  the  Whigs,  although  when  first 
proposed,  after  the  War  of  1812,  Webster  said  that  it  was 
European,  not  American. 

"This  favorite  American  policy,  sir,  is  what  America  has  never  tried, 
and  this  odious  foreign  policy  [low  tariff]  is  what  we  are  told  foreign 
states  have  never  pursued."4 

The  Texas  question  was  more  complicated.  The  most  obvious 
purpose  was  the  extension  of  slavery  territory,  and  since  1860 
it  is  fashionable  to  speak  of  it  as  a  "slavery  intrigue,"  following 
the  model  set  by  Lowell  in  his  "Biglow  Papers,"  and  continued 
so  well  by  such  historians  as  Schouler  and  Von  Hoist.  That  this 
view  is  incorrect  will  be  shown  later  in  this  paper.  No  policy 
of  annexation  has  ever  failed  to  command  the  assent  of  a  major- 
ity of  our  people,  and  the  more  astute  of  the  Democratic  leaders 
recognized  this  in  1844,  and  followed  the  guidance  of  the  "foster 
father  of  Texas,"  Senator  Robert  J.  Walker,  of  Mississippi. 
When  Van  Buren  was  defeated  in  1840,  his  friends  had  imitated 
Jackson's  friends  in  1825,  and  had  at  once  nominated  him  for 


'Report  Amer.  Hist.  Ass.,  1899,  Vol.  II. 
4Goldwin  Smith's  Polit.  Hist.  U.  S.,  p. 


p.  186. 


i8a  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

President  in  1844.  But  Van  Buren  was  opposed  to  the  annexa- 
tion of  Texas.  Before  the  time  for  the  conventions,  which  were 
changed  this  year  from  December  to  spring,  both  he  and  Clay 
announced  their  opposition.  This  was  evidently  done  to  keep 
Texas  from  being  an  issue  in  the  campaign,  as  Van  Buren  had 
visited  Clay  at  Ashland  in  May,  1842,  and  it  is  thought  that  the 
two  agreed  on  this  policy. 

Mr.  Benton,  with  his  unrivalled  capability  for  "seeing  ghosts," 
describes  how,  in  order  to  get  Van  Buren  definitely  committed 
against  Texas,  his  enemies,  led  by  Senator  Walker,  arranged  for 
Mr.  Hamett,  a  congressman  from  Mississippi,  to  pretend  great 
friendship  for  him  and  then  to  interrogate  him  on  the  Texas 
subject.6  Of  course,  believing  as  he  did,  his  answer  was  against 
"immediate  annexation,"  and  it  is  interesting  to  notice  in  con- 
nection with  this  word  "immediate"  that  no  man  who  could 
possibly  be  a  candidate,  except  the  radical  Birney,  ever  dared 
to  speak  against  ultimate  annexation.  Mr.  Claiborne,  the  Mis- 
sissippi historian,  believes  that  in  this,  as  in  other  ways,  Walker 
did  more  than  any  other  man  to  put  Polk  in  the  President's 
seat. 

Van  Buren  had  a  majority  of  votes  in  the  convention  which 
met  in  Baltimore  on  May  27th,  but  the  annexationists  secured 
the  adoption  of  the  two-thirds  rule,  and  thus  defeated  Van 
Buren,  who  could  command  only  146  votes  out  of  266.  Plat- 
forms were  just  coming  into  favor.  In  1844  the  Democrats 
adopted  their  second  platform,  and  the  Whigs  for  the  first  time 
put  out  a  platform.  A  platform  was  also  framed  for  the  first 
time  by  the  Liberty  party,  which  had  been  organized  in  1839, 
and  had  received  some  seven  thousand  votes  in  1840,  but  was 
destined  in  this  election  to  play  a  deciding  part.  Its  platform 
was  very  long,  and  touched  on  all  public  questions,  with  most 
stress  on  slavery.  The  platform  of  the  Democrats  is  called  by 
Colonel  McClure,  in  Our  Presidents,  a  "political  drag-net." 
A  strong  plank  was  inserted  calling  for  the  "re-occupation  of 
Oregon  and  the  re-annexation  of  Texas."  This  and  the  plank 
on  public  lands  were  accompanied  by  the  usual  platitudes.  The 
Whigs  had  four  planks,  three  were  complimentary  to  Clay  and 
Frelinghuysen — the  remaining  one  summed  up  tersely  the  prin- 

'Benton's  Thirty  Years'  View,  Vol.  II,  chap.  35. 


Presidential  Campaign  of  1844. — Walmsley.  183 

ciples  of  the  party,  a  well-regulated  currency,  a  tariff,  the  dis- 
tribution of  the  proceeds  of  sales  of  public  lands,  and  one  term 
for  the  Presidency.  Texas  was  ignored,  but  Clay  was  well 
understood  to  be  flatly  opposed  to  its  annexation. 

Every  one  is  familiar  with  Mr.  Clay's  fatal  facility  in  writing 
letters  and  making  compromises.  His  second  letter  on  Texas, 
which  was  supposed  to  be  intended  for  the  benefit  of  Southern 
voters,  gained  him  no  votes  in  the  South  and  aroused  such  bitter 
opposition  among  the  abolitionists  of  New  York  that  they  threw 
away  enough  votes  on  Birney,  the  Liberty  candidate,  to  swing 
the  State  from  the  Whig  column,  where  it  normally  belonged, 
into  the  Democratic  line,  and  thus  elect  Polk,  who  had  carried 
Pennsylvania  on  a  tariff  proposition,  and  had  naturally  carried 
a  majority  of  the  southern  states  on  the  Texas  question.  Of 
the  nine  distinctively  southern  states  at  that  time  (Florida  and 
Texas  were  not  admitted  till  1845)  Polk  carried  all  but  North 
Carolina  and  Tennessee.  Of  the  border  states,  Kentucky,  Clay's 
home,  gave  him  a  majority  of  six  thousand  less  than  it  had 
given  Harrison  four  years  before,  while  Tennessee,  Folk's  home, 
gave  Clay  a  majority  of  about  a  hundred  votes. 

There  was  then  no  law  requiring  an  uniform  day  for  the  elec- 
tions. All  of  the  states  voted  in  November,  but  on  different 
days.  When  the  time  came  for  Delaware  to  cast  her  three  votes, 
Clay  was  already  defeated,  but  one  of  the  hardest-fought  battles 
of  the  campaign  was  waged  over  these  three  votes,  which  finally 
fell  to  Clay.  The  next  Congress  fixed  the  day  for  Presidential 
elections.  As  in  1840,  the  winning  party  felt  that  they  had 
won  a  signal  victory,  though  a  few  votes  either  way  would  have 
changed  the  result  of  both  elections. 

The  election  in  Mississippi  was  not  so  close,  but  was  stubbornly 
fought.  Mississippi,  at  this  date,  might  be  called  a  Democratic 
State.  In  common  with  all  the  western  and  southwestern 
states,  it  was  a  thorough  Jackson  State,  but,  by  1835,  signs 
began  to  appear  of  differences  of  opinion,  which  would  have 
kept  it,  if  free  from  the  influence  of  the  slavery  question,  a  normal 
State.  In  fact  it  may  be  said  that  prior  to  1855  politics  was  in 
as  normal  a  condition  in  Mississippi  as  in  New  York.  However, 
the  Democrats  usually  carried  the  State.  In  1835,  tne  Whig 
candidate,  Charles  Lynch,  was  elected  governor,  though  the 


184  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

legislature  was  Democratic.  In  1837  the  Democratic  candidate 
for  governor,  A.  G.  McNutt,  was  elected;  but,  after  a  bitter 
fight,  the  Whigs  elected  Dr.  J.  W.  King  speaker  of  the  lower 
house  of  the  legislature.  Within  one  year,  1837-38,  as  students 
of  State  history  remember,  there  were  three  elections  for  Con- 
gress, and  in  the  last  two  the  Whig  candidates,  S.  S.  Prentiss 
and  T.  J.  Word,  were  successful.  In  1839  all  the  State  offices 
were  won  by  the  Democrats,  but  in  1840  the  Whigs  carried  the 
State  for  Harrison  and  Tyler  in  the  Presidential  election.  After 
1840  no  Whig  candidates  were  elected.  Thus  it  will  be  seen 
that  the  Whigs  had  carried  each  election  once,  but  at  different 
dates,  and  it  can  be  safely  said  that  while  the  State  was  Demo- 
cratic, it  was  not  blindly  so. 

From  1837  till  after  the  time  covered  in  this  work,  National 
affairs,  in  Mississippi,  were  "sicklied  o'er  with  the  pale  cast"  of 
local  politics.  Before  1837  there  had  been  the  halcyon  days  of 
the  "Flush  Times,"  described  in  such  an  inimitable  manner  by 
Baldwin,  the  rival  of  Judge  Longstreet  as  the  word-painter  of 
the  southwest.  In  addition  to  the  causes  which  in  other  states 
produced  a  carnival  of  speculation,  the  Indian  lands  in  Missis- 
sippi had  just  been  opened,  marvelous  tales  had  gone  north  and 
east  of  the  new  El  Dorado,  and  "the  new  era  had  set  in — the  era 
of  the  second  great  experiment  of  independence:  the  experi- 
ment, namely,  of  credit  without  capital,  and  enterprise  without 
honesty."6  All  prices  were  high,  "money  was  the  only  cheap 
thing  to  be  had,"  lands  bought  at  government  prices,  $1.25  per 
acre,  sold  at  once  at  $30  and  $40.'  Lands  near  Jackson,  which 
to-day,  under  excellent  cultivation,  sell  at  $25,  then  sold  unim- 
proved at  $80  and  $90.  Governor  Brown  gives  an  account  of 
it  which  vividly  describes  the  condition:8 

"Drawers  are  searched,  purses  are  turned,  the  cash  that  jingled  about 
the  infant's  neck  is  taken  off,  and  fuss  and  confusion  reigns ;  money  must 
be  raised  to  purchase  more  lands,  that  we  may  grow  more  rich.  In  short, 
sir,  every  dollar  that  can  be  raised  in  the  whole  country  is  taken  to  the 
land  office,  given  for  unproductive  soil,  and  as  effectually  lost  to  the  real 
business  of  the  country  as  if  it  had  been  cast  into  the  sea.  *  *  *  The 
real  capital  of  the  country  being  exhausted,  the  legislatures  were  impor_ 

6Baldwin's  Flush  Times  in  Ala.  and  Miss.,  p.  81. 

''Ibid,  p.  84. 

8 Speeches  and  Writings  of  Hon.  A.  G.  Brown,  p.  32;  also  Reuben 
Davis's  Recollections  of  Miss,  and  Mississippians,  p.  186;  Sparks's 
Memories  of  Fifty  Years,  p.  364. 


Presidential  Campaign  of  1844. — Walmsley.  185 

tuned  to  create  more  banks,  that  there  might  be  more  money  to  invest 
in  more  unproductive  lands.  These  banks  without  capital  had  all  to  gain 
and  nothing  to  lose,  their  issues  were  free  and  unlimited.  *  *  *  Every 
man  felt  rich  in  the  possession  of  his  real  estate,  upon  which  he  had  fixed 
his  own  price,  with  a  firm  resolution  to  obtain  that  price  or  keep  the  land. 
*  *  *  Holding  at  very  high  prices  suddenly  checked  the  tide  of  immi- 
gration, and  left  the  country  full  of  vendors  but  without  purchasers. 

"Meanwhile  a  system  of  extravagance  is  begun  and  kept  up  to  com- 
mensurate with  the  fancied  wealth  of  neighbor  Humbug.  *  *  *  All 
Europe  and  America  are  ransacked  for  viands  to  load  a  mahogany  table, 
that  has  driven  the  old-fashioned  cherry  and  walnut  from  the  dining- 
room  of  a  woodland  cottage  into  the  garret  of  a  princely  mansion.  *  * 
Anon  a  general  crash  is  heard — terror  and  consternation  possess  the  com- 
munity. The  importunities  for  money  become  greater  and  still  more 
great.  The  wealthy  Mr.  Humbug  decides  to  sell  a  portion  of  his  lands, 
pay  his  debts,  and  live  independent.  He  starts  out  with  this  honest  pur- 
pose ;  but  what  is  his  surprise  to  find  every  one  selling  and  no  one  buying. 
He  returns  dispirited,  disappointed,  disheartened.  He  is  sued,  harassed 
with  executions,  and  finally  breaks;  at  this  point  he  turns  Whig,  curses 
General  Jackson,  swears  that  Van  Buren  is  the  greatest  scoundrel  that 
ever  lived,  and  starts  to  Texas.  *  *  *  Such  is  a  brief  outline  of  the 
rise,  expansion,  and  final  explosion  of  the  greatest  bubble  that  ever 
floated  on  the  wide  ocean  of  popular  folly." 

This  long  selection  is  given  to  make  clear  the  effect  which  local 
business  depression  had  on  affairs  later. 

As  an  illustration  of  Governor  Brown's  statement  in  regard  to 
unlimited  paper  money,  on  November  30,  1841,  there  was  in  the 
State  treasury  $302,955.95$,  of  which  $302,955.61$  was  in 
paper  and  34  cents  in  specie.' 

Under  these  circumstances  the  Union  Bank  was  chartered, 
and  the  State  took  $5,000,000  of  stock  in  it,  issuing  bonds  for 
the  same.  When  the  crash  came,  and  payments  fell  due  on  the 
bonds,  it  was  found  that  they  had  not  been  issued  in  a  legal 
manner,  and  the  proposition,  as  put  before  the  people,  whether 
they  were  willing  to  be  taxed  to  pay  the  bonds,  divided  the 
State  sharply.  It  soon  became  a  political  question. 

"The  discussion  of  the  question  when  before  the  people  called  out  the 
best  talents  of  the  State  on  both  sides  in  politics,  the  Whigs,  as  a  rule, 
being  opposed  to  repudiation,  and  the  Democrats,  as  a  rule,  being  in  favor 
of  it,  each  following  in  this  State  question  the  line  of  thought  which  had 
distinguished  the  two  parties  in  National  politics — the  Whigs  insisting 
upon  a  liberal  construction  of  the  Constitution,  and  the  Democrats  upon 
a  strict  one,  and  each  thus  following  the  traditions  of  his  party.  The 
appeal  of  the  one  was  to  the  moral  sense  of  the  people,  whue  the  other 
was  to  the  legal  sense.  The  Whigs,  or  bond-payers,  were  constantly 
begging  the  question  and  pleading  the  spirit  of  the  Constitution,  while 
the  Democrats,  or  repudiators,  pleaded  the  letter  and  prescription  of  the 
instrument."10 

*Nine  Years  of  Democratic  Rule  in  Mississippi,  p.  219. 
1  "Fulkerson's  Early  Days  in  Mississippi,  p.  86. 


i86  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

The  situation  was  enough  to  appall  even  those  who  were  in 
favor  of  paying  the  bonds.  Prentiss,  who  was  the  Whig  cham- 
pion, says  in  a  letter  to  his  brother,  in  Germany,  July  16,  1842 111 

"You  can  form  no  idea  of  the  embarrassment,  prostration,  and  ruin, 
which  pervade  this  country.  Such  a  state  of  things  never  was  known, 
and  could  not  exist,  in  Europe.  There  is  no  currency  at  all  in  this  part 
of  the  country,  and  property  has  no  representative.  The  New  Orleans 
banks,  which  heretofore  furnished  this  State  with  the  little  money  that 
did  circulate,  have  all  failed,  and  now  it  is  utterly  impossible  to  collect 
debts,  or  to  sell  property  at  any  price.  Nothing  can  be  more  gloomy 
than  the  present  position  of  affairs;  and  I  confess  I  can  see  no  prospect 
of  speedy  relief.  In  every  other  country  on  the  face  of  the  globe  property 
will  bring  some  price,  here  it  will  command  nothing,  and  a  man  may 
starve  in  possession  of  a  fortune." 

To  show  how  completely  in  the  minds  of  many  this  question 
of  repudiation  had  overshadowed  all  others,  we  may  notice  that 
Van  Winkle,  the  author  of  Nine  Years  of  Democratic  Rule  in 
Mississippi  (1838-1847),  a  bitter  partisan,  mentions  National 
affairs  only  once  in  a  book  of  over  three  hundred  pages,  and  then 
to  give  a  rather  lame  reason  for  the  Democrats'  adopting  the 
repudiation  policy,  namely,  that  it  was  to  secure  popular  favor 
and  thus  reverse  the  Whig  majority  given  to  Harrison  in  1840. 

The  movement  against  foreigners,  and  especially  against 
Roman  Catholics,  which  brought  on  the  violent  "no-popery 
riots"  in  Philadelphia  in  the  early  part  of  the  year,  had  appar- 
ently not  penetrated  among  the  people  of  Mississippi,  and  did 
not  do  so  till  later,  in  the  time  of  the  Know  Nothing  party. 
It  is,  however,  noticeable  that  immediately  after  the  "riots"  each 
party  tried  to  make  use  of  the  "riots"  to  stir  up  prejudice  against 
the  other.  The  Democratic  papers  seemed  to  have  better  suc- 
cess, as  well  as  more  foundation  for  their  policy,  and  by  the 
middle  of  December  some  of  the  Whig  papers  were  coming  over 
to  the  side  of  the  "Native  Americans,"  or  "Nativists."  For 
instance,  the  Constitutionalist  was  established  by  H.  McFarland 
at  Vicksburg  in  February,  1844,  as  a  Whig  newspaper,  but  it 
gradually  threw  more  and  more  stress  on  the  "anti-foreign" 
movement.  In  the  first  issue  after  the  election  most  of  the 
paper  is  taken  up  with  "Nativist"  articles,  and  it  soon  became 
an  organ  for  this  movement.  There  is  little  reason  for  believing 
that  an  "anti-foreign"  sentiment  would  have  originated  in 
Mississippi  without  nursing. 

llMemoirs  of  S.  S.  Prentiss,  Vol.  II,  p.  218. 


Presidential  Campaign  of  1844. — Walmsky.  187 

Those  few  in  Mississippi  who  took  any  interest  in  National 
affairs  as  such  showed  a  feeble  interest  in  the  tariff.  A  tariff 
speech  made  at  Watertown,  N.  Y.,  by  Silas  Wright,  who  had 
refused  the  nomination  for  Vice-President  with  Polk,  but  had 
afterwards  become  Democratic  candidate  for  Governor  of  New 
York,  was  run  for  several  weeks  in  three  or  four  Mississippi 
papers,  and  there  were  some  discussions  of  the  tariff,  but  all 
in  a  half-hearted  manner. 

The  matchless  orator,  Prentiss,  was  the  only  man  who  cared 
to  go  into  the  fundamental  questions  of  public  policy.  He  made 
some  plausible  and  telling  arguments  to  show  that  a  tariff  would 
be  a  greater  benefit  to  the  cotton-growing  interest  than  to  any 
other.  A  large  part  of  his  time  in  this  campaign  was  given  up 
to  the  canvass  in  other  states,  his  best  known  speech  in  this 
period  being  delivered  at  Nashville,  August  aist.  In  one  of  his 
speeches  this  year  he  said: 

"What  are  mere  political  measures,  what  are  questions  of  tariff,  bank, 
or  internal  improvements,  in  comparison  with  the  questions  of  our  im- 
mediate honor,  character,  and  perpetuity  as  a  virtuous,  law-abiding 
nation?"12 

These  fundamental  questions,  as  he  presented  them  this  year, 
were  the  moral  and  constitutional  limitations  of  popular  sov- 
ereignty, as  opposed  to  Jacksonian  Democracy,  the  limitation 
of  real  freedom  itself  to  those  who  were  fitted  to  enjoy  it,  and 
the  tendency  of  a  free  government  to  allow  all  degrees  of  ability 
freedom  to  develop  and  thus  bring  about  great  actual  inequal- 
ity of  condition.  These  are  given  somewhat  at  length  to  show 
how  little  of  sectional  pleading  there  was  in  his  speeches.  This 
doctrine  of  limiting  the  rights  of  the  people  was  strongly  criti- 
cized in  the  Vicksburg  Sentinel,  May  27,  1844.  The  editor,  in  a 
ringing  article,  showed  that  this  was  the  very  essence  of  the  old 
Federalism,  killed  in  1816,  which  taught  the  inability  of  the 
majority  of  the  people  to  do  anything,  however  desirable,  and 
that  this  was  another  way  of  expressing  Hamilton's  dictum  of 
"government  by  the  well-born." 

In  a  distinctively  tariff  speech  made  before  the  "Clay  Straight- 
out  Club,"  composed  of  young  mechanics  at  Vicksburg,  Prentiss 
plead  for  a  tariff  not  only  on  grounds  familiar  to  us  to-day  in 

1  ^Memoirs  of  S.  S.  Prentiss,  Vol.  II,  p.  302. 


i88  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

tariff  speeches,  but  also  on  the  ground  that  it  was  a  National 
measure  and  would  tend  to  hold  together  the  Union.  In  this 
connection  it  is  worth  noting  that  it  was  in  this  campaign  that 
Jefferson  Davis  made  his  entry  into  National  politics. 

Mr.  Davis  had  entered  politics  the  previous  year,  leading  a 
forlorn  hope  in  Warren  County  as  a  Democratic  candidate  for 
the  legislature.  As  he  had  expected,  he  failed  of  election,  but 
his  canvass  attracted  attention,  and  in  1844  he  was  a  delegate 
to  the  Democratic  State  Convention  held  at  Jackson,  and  pre- 
sided over  by  Mr.  Prentiss'  great  rival,  Joseph  Holt.  This  con- 
vention instructed  its  delegates  to  support  Van  Buren  as  long 
as  he  had  any  chance,  and,  on  motion  of  Mr.  Davis,  they  were 
instructed  to  support  Calhoun  as  second  choice.13  Mr.  Davis 's 
speech  in  advocacy  of  this  motion  made  an  impression  so  strong 
that  he  was  unanimously  chosen  one  of  the  electors  from  the 
State  at  large. 

To  return  to  Mr.  Prentiss,  his  speech  .at  Natchez  was  the 
greatest  speech  of  which  we  have  any  record  in  this  campaign. 
It  was  considered  by  the  Whigs  unanswerable,  "a  magnificent 
burst  of  eloquence ;  an  outpouring  of  honest  Americanism,  love 
of  the  Union,  the  Nation,  the  Constitution — law,  order,  society, 
and  religion;  carrying  death  and  destruction  into  the  ranks  of 
Locofocoism,  Dorrism,  etc."14  (It  was  then  fashionable  among 
the  Whigs  to  link  together  Repudiation  in  Mississippi  and 
Dorr's  Rebellion  in  Rhode  Island,  and  at  least  one  Democratic 
newspaper  of  the  State  spoke  of  Dorr  as  an  "imprisoned  patriot.") 

It  was  in  the  course  of  this  speech  that  Prentiss  gave  utterance 
to  his  famous  characterization  of  Polk.  After  giving  a  powerful 
eulogy  of  Mr.  Clay  as  the  ideal  American  statesman, 

"Suddenly  he  paused,  and  with  a  voice  as  of  a  trumpet  asked,  'Who  is 
the  opponent  of  Henry  Clay?'  His  eyes  flashed  unwonted  fire,  and  you 
saw  him  falling  headlong  from  his  dizzy  height,  but  his  very  course 
marked  the  impetus  of  a  destroying  angel ;  you  saw  that  there  was  a  vial 
of  wrath  in  his  hand,  a  consuming  fire  in  his  eye ;  he  fairly  struggled  and 
heaved  with  emotion.  The  foam  dashed  from  his  lips,  and  he  repeated 
in  defiant  notes,  'Who  is  the  opponent  of  Mr.  Clay?'  and  then  hissed  the 
answer,  'A  blighted  burr  that  has  fallen  from  the  mane  of  th  warhorse 
of  the  Hermitage.'  "15 

13 Jefferson  Davis,  by  his  Wife,  p.  182. 
ltMemoirs  of  S.  S.  Prentiss,  Vol.  II,  p.  329. 
15 Memoirs  of  S.  S.  Prentiss,  Vol.  II,  p.  332 


Presidential  Campaign  of  1844. — Walmsley.  189 

It  was  in  ridicule  of  this  scene  that  the  Yazoo  Democrat,  of 
November  23d,  when  the  result  of  the  election  was  certain,  came 
out  with  a  flaring  headline,  "Who  is  James  K.  Polk?" 

To  understand  fully  this  denunciation,  it  is  necessary  to  know 
the  contemporary  feeling  in  regard  to  both  Polk  and  Jackson. 
In  addition  to  the  feeling  that  Polk  was  a  mere  "nobody"  daring 
to  run  against  the  immortal  "Harry  of  the  West,"  Prentiss  had 
personal  reasons  for  his  detestation  of  Polk.  In  1837,  when  the 
question  came  up  of  seating  Prentiss  and  Word  in  the  Twenty- 
fifth  Congress,  the  House  divided  even,  and  Polk,  who  was 
Speaker,  cast  the  deciding  vote  against  the  Whig  candidates 
on  what  Prentiss  believed  to  be  entirely  partisan  grounds. 
Prentiss  and  Word  were  re-elected,  and,  when  at  the  end  of  the 
session  the  usual  vote  of  thanks  to  the  Speaker  was  moved, 
Prentiss  hotly  opposed  the  word  "impartial"  in  the  resolution. 
He  never  forgot  Folk's  action  in  this  matter." 

The  other  part  of  the  reference  is  to  a  striking  phenomenon. 
No  one  ever  questioned  Jackson's  decisions  and  actions.  The 
speakers  might  be  Whig  or  Democrat,  but  to  the  present  day 
in  the  Southwest  Jackson's  words  and  deeds  are  a  political  Bible, 
and,  like  Holy  Writ,  subject  to  partisan  interpretation.  The 
Whigs  at  this  time  often  said  that  Jackson,  who  was  near  the 
end  of  his  picturesque  life,  had  been  deceived  by  cunning  poli- 
ticians, but  Jackson  himself,  like  Washington,  was  raised  above 
criticism.  It  was  a  favorite  charge  against  Democrats  that  they 
were  trying  to  ride  into  office  on  Jackson's  reputation.  An 
instance  of  this  unconscious  reverence  for  Jackson  is  in  Doctor 
Daevenport's  "Humbuggiana,"  describing  Proteus'  changing 
from  Democrat  to  Whig: 

"Najr,  principles,  he  holds  this  very  hour, 
Which,  General  Jackson,  carried  into  power." 

Another  illustration  of  this  same  feeling  is  the  view  expressed 
by  Benton,  that  the  "Jackson  Texas  Letter"  was  a  case  where 
the  honest  old  hero  was  worked  on  by  designing  men  who  knew 
that  no  movement  could  succeed  in  the  Southwest  which  was 
not  fathered  by  Jackson.17  This  letter  of  Jackson  was  printed 
in  all  of  the  Mississippi  papers  of  both  parties,  and  letters  from 

18Shields's  Life  and  Times  of  S.  S.  Prentiss,  pp.  184,  248. 
l'Benton's  Thirty  Years'  View,  Vol.  II,  chap.  35. 


i go  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Jackson  during  the  campaign  were  printed  in  all  the  Democratic 
papers — about  fifteen — as  leading  articles. 

Reference  has  already  been  made  to  the  current  misstatement 
in  histories  of  this  period,  that  the  annexation  of  Texas  was  a 
"slavery  intrigue,"  sprung  upon  an  unsuspecting  people  in  the 
spring  of  1844,  when  Mr.  Tyler  sent  the  Treaty  of  Annexation 
to  the  Senate,  and  that  the  revolution  leading  to  the  independ- 
ence of  Texas  was  a  scheme  by  "slave-holding  land  purchasers." 
It  is  well  to  investigate  this  more  fully.  The  first  movement 
looking  toward  the  recognition  of  the  independence  of  Texas 
was  initiated  by  the  legislature  of  Connecticut,  May  27,  1836,  and 
a  careful  reading  of  the  resolution  passed18  will  show  that  the 
people  of  the  North  then  believed  the  revolution  to  have  been 
provoked  by  Mexican  misrule,  and  to  have  been  fully  justified 
in  political  ethics. 

In  the  debate  in  the  Senate  on  the  resolution  for  recognition, 
which  was  adopted  unanimously  July  i,  1836,  Mr.  Calhoun 
frankly  stated  that  he  regarded  the  recognition  as  of  great 
importance,  inasmuch  as  it  prepared  the  way  for  the  annexa- 
tion of  Texas,  and  for  the  preservation  of  the  balance  of  power 
between  the  slaveholding  and  non-slaveholding  Commonwealths. 
"After  such  a  statement  it  is  difficult  to  see  how  anybody  could 
speak  of  the  annexation  of  Texas  as  being  a  slaveholders'  secret 
intrigue."  On  his  way  home  from  Congress  a  year  later  Mr. 
Webster  made  a  speech  in  New  York  in  which  he  declared  him- 
self opposed  to  the  proposed  annexation  inasmuch  as  it  would 
increase  the  area  of  slavery.19  Surely  this  does  not  sound  like 
a  secret  intrigue.  Mr.  Benton,  however,  says  that  the  letter  of 
Gilmer,  from  Virginia,  published  in  a  Baltimore  newspaper  in 
the  winter  of  1843,  urging  annexation,  was  "a  clap  of  thunder 
in  a  clear  sky."20 

If  anything  further  were  needed  to  disprove  the  idea  that  the 
Treaty  proposed  to  the  Senate  in  1844  was  a  recent  intrigue,  it 
might  be  found  in  a  copy  of  the  Liberty  (Mississippi)  Advocate 
(Whig)  for  December  2,  1843,  which,  in  an  article  stating  that 
the  contest  in  the  Democratic  party  was  between  Calhoun  and 
Van  Buren,  spoke  of  Texas  annexation  as  a  subject  by  no  means 

18Burgess'  Middle  Period,  p.  295. 

l*Works  of  Daniel  Webster  (author's  edition),  Vol.  I,  p.  355. 

z°Benton's  Thirty  Years'  View,  Vol.  II,  chap.  35. 


Presidential  Campaign  of  1844. — Walmsley.  191 

new  to  southern  people.  In  fact  a  somewhat  careful  search  of 
the  files  of  about  thirty  Mississippi  newspapers  from  1836  to 
1845  shows  that  the  subject  of  annexation  was  never  dropped 
after  it  was  proposed  at  the  time  of  the  battle  of  San  Jacinto. 
No  Mississippi  Whig  paper,  which  the  writer  has  read,  made  use 
of  the  charge  of  intrigue  during  the  campaign. 

In  a  non-political  fourth  of  July  oration  delivered  at  Natchez 
before  the  "Natchez  Fencibles"  by  Wm.  Mason  Giles,  Texas  is 
linked  with  the  movements  in  Europe: 

"The  revolutionary  spirit  has  gone  forth  and  will  go  forth;  it  was  felt 
in  revolutionary  France,  and  shook  the  thrones  of  Europe  to  the  centre — 
Poland  caught  its  spirit,  and  poured  out  her  blood  like  water,  in  its  sup- 
port— South  America  echoed  the  strains  in  shouts  of  victory — Greece  was 
renewed  with  its  vivifying  power,  and  it  lighted  the  'Lone  Star'  of  Texas 
with  an  undying  lustre." 

Another  illustration  of  the  Mississippi  feeling  in  regard  to 
Texas  is  that  in  Governor  Brown's  inaugural  address  in  1844, 
on  the  verge  of  the  Presidential  campaign.  He  speaks  at  length 
on  the  subject  of  Texas,  but  does  not  allude  to  the  tariff.21 

Various  Whig  papers  kept  during  the  whole  campaign  a 
standing  headline  from  one  of  Clay's  letters,  showing  that  he 
was  not  unalterably  opposed  to  annexation.  It  was  this  feeling 
for  annexation  that  soon  put  the  Whig  papers  in  Mississippi  on 
the  defensive,  and  made  the  gist  of  their  argument  tend  to  prove 
that  Clay  was  as  good  as  Polk  and  Polk  as  bad  as  Clay.  This 
was  shifting  the  burden  of  proof  with  a  vengeance,  and  was 
another  illustration  of  the  Democratic  wisdom  in  not  bringing 
forward  a  candidate  with  a  troublesome  record. 

The  strong  Texas  feeling  in  Mississippi  was  supposed  to  have 
affected  as  pronounced  a  Whig  as  Prentiss,  and  a  rumor  was 
circulated  that  he  would  desert  Clay  on  this  account.  He  found 
it  necessary  to  publish  the  following  letter  in  the  Vicksburg 
Whig,  which  will  not  only  show  the  feeling  of  the  Whig  party, 
but  will  also  illustrate  their  unwillingness  to  commit  themselves 
definitely  on  a  future  policy  for  Texas:32 

"  *  *  *  I  look  upon  the  Whig  cause  as  far  more  important  than  the 
Texas  question,  and  would  rather  see  that  cause  triumphant,  and  Mr.  Clay 
elected,  than  to  witness  the  annexation  to  the  United  States  of  all  the 

I1Speeches  and  Writings  of  How.  A.  G.  Brown,  p.  65. 
*3Memoirs  of  S.  S.  Prentiss,  Vol.  II,  p.  315. 


192  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

territory  between  here  and  Patagonia.  I  believe  the  question  of  annexa- 
tion, as  now  presented,  to  be  a  mere  party  question,  brought  forward 
expressly  to  operate  on  the  Presidential  election,  and  that  it  ought  not 
to  have  the  slightest  influence  upon  the  course,  or  action,  of  any  member 
of  the  Whig  party.  Indeed  the  ground  taken  upon  it  in  this  quarter, 
that  those  who  support  Mr.  Clay  are  unfavorable  to  Southern  institutions, 
and  opposed  to  Southern  interests,  is  as  insulting  as  it  is  false,  and  should 
arouse  an  honest  indignation  in  the  breast  of  every  true  Whig.  *  *  * 
"And  if  I  should  ever  turn  Locofoco  on  the  question  of  the  immediate 
annexation  of  Texas,  I  will  support  John  Tyler,  and  not  James  K.  Polk." 

The  last  clause  of  this  letter  refers  to  a  distinction  made  by 
Prentiss  between  Democrats  and  Locofocos.  Students  of  history 
are  aware  of  the  origin  of  the  term  locofoco  in  a  New  York  con- 
vention, but  as  used  by  Prentiss  it  meant  radical.  He  spoke  of 
locofocoism  as  lawlessness,  and  found  the  distinction  of  terms 
very  convenient  at  times.  In  his  great  Natchez  speech  in  1844 
he  roundly  abused  the  opposition  as  locofocos,  and,  when  called 
to  account  by  some  of  his  Democratic  friends,  said  that  he  had 
great  respect  for  simon-pure  Democrats,  but  that  it  was  these 
new  radicals  that  he  had  to  villify. 

Few  people  aided  more  in  the  acquisition  of  Texas  than 
Robert  J.  Walker,  United  States  Senator  from  Mississippi  from 
1835  to  1845.  This  was  recognized  by  the  people  of  Texas,  and 
he  was  asked  to  allow  his  bust  to  adorn  their  capitol.  His 
answer  shows  how  the  people  of  the  State  felt: 

"In  my  own  name  and  for  my  poor  services  I  could  not  accept  your 
proposition.  It  was  as  a  representative  of  the  people  of  Mississippi  that 
I  moved  and  advocated  in  consonance  with  my  own  feeling  and  judgment 
the  recognition  of  your  independence.  My  name  must  soon  be  forgotten 
in  connection  with  this  or  any  other  transaction,  but  be  it  long  remem- 
bered that  it  was  a  representative  of  the  State  of  Mississippi,  who,  in  the 
hour  of  your  deepest  gloom  and  danger,  predicted  your  success,  when  not 
a  voice  in  Congress  had  been  raised  in  your  behalf."23 

Some  time  previous  to  this,  soon  after  he  entered  the  Senate, 
he  said  in  reference  to  aiding  in  the  resistance  to  Mexican  forces 
in  Texas: 

"Sir,  the  people  of  the  Mississippi  valley  could  never  have  permitted 
Santa  Anna  and  his  myrmidons  to  retain  the  dominion  of  Texas." 

In  the  spring  of  1844,  before  the  National  Convention,  the 
people  of  Mississippi  nominated  Walker  for  Vice-President,  and 
the  people  of  Carroll  County,  Kentucky,  asked  him  to  express 
his  views  on  the  admission  of  Texas.  This  called  out  his  famous 

2SLeftwich's  "Robert  J.  Walker,"  Pub.  Miss.  Hist.  Society,  VI,  p.  365. 


Presidential  Campaign  of  1844. — Walmsky.  193 

"Texas  Letter,"  which,  in  a  large  degree,  formed  the  basis  of 
the  policy  on  which  Texas  was  later  admitted.21  It  is  exceed- 
ingly interesting  to  note  that,  though  a  slaveholder,  and  one 
whom  Claiborne  calls  an  ultra  radical  southerner,26  he  advocated 
the  admission  of  Texas  as  a  free  State,  as  a  safety  valve  for  the 
disposal  of  negroes,  who  could  then  work  their  way  over  the 
line  into  Mexico,  where  their  color  would  be  no  bar  to  their 
success  in  life. 

The  charge  was  made  by  Prentiss2'  that  Walker  used  two 
editions  of  his  "letter,"  one  for  the  North,  emphasizing  his  idea 
of  a  free  Texas,  and  the  other  for  the  South,  without  this  em- 
phasis. One  of  the  most  dramatic  features  of  the  campaign  was 
the  speech  of  Prentiss  at  Rodney.  It  was  in  the  course  of  this 
speech  that  Fulkerson  found  himself  near  a  devout  Methodist 
lady,  wife  of  a  leading  Democrat  of  Rodney,  who  with  stream- 
ing eyes  and  uplifted  hands  said,  "Oh,  that  he  were  a  preacher!" 
He  had  copies  of  Walker's  two  letters,  and  after  showing  their 
alleged  inconsistency,  dashed  them  together,  calling  them  "the 
acid  and  alkali  vanishing  into  frosty  nothingness,"  and  then 
suddenly  fainted  and  fell  to  the  floor.27 

If  it  is  true  that  Mr.  Walker  had  garbled  his  Texas  letter  to 
suit  both  sections,  it  did  not  seem  to  impress  Northern  people 
in  that  way.  John  Reed,  Whig  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Mas- 
sachusetts, wrote  to  the  New  York  Tribune2  *  denouncing  the 
letter  of  Mr.  Walker  as  a  "bold  and  ingenious  appeal  to  ignorance 
and  prejudice,  and  a  slander  upon  the  free  negroes;"  and  con- 
tinued by  describing  Mr.  Walker  as  the  "President-maker,  the 
master  spirit  who  dictated  and  controlled  the  measures  and 
results  of  the  Baltimore  convention." 

On  the  i zth  of  September,  1844,  the  citizens  of  Columbus, 
Mississippi,  gave  a  barbecue  in  honor  of  Mr.  Walker,  and  Con- 
gressman Wm.  M.  Gwin  took  occasion  in  his  letter  to  the  com- 
mittee of  invitation  to  review  briefly  "some  of  the  measures  for 
the  benefit  of  our  State  and  of  the  West  introduced  by  Senator 

"Ibid. 

2BClaiborne,  Miss,  as  a  Prov.,  Ter.,  and  State,  Vol    I    411 

^Memoirs  S.  S.  Prentiss,  Vol.  II,  330;  Shields's  Life  and  Times  of  S  S 
Prentiss,  p.  348. 

"Fulkerson,  Early  Days  in  Mississippi,  p.  108. 
"N.  Y.  Tribune,  July  6,  1844. 


i.Q4  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Walker,  and  most  of  which  have  become  laws,  and  all  of  which 
Mr.  Clay  has  strenuously  opposed."  He  continued,  "He  [Mr. 
Clay]  is  opposed  to  us  on  the  subjects  of  the  tariff,  of  the  public 
lands,  and  the  annexation  of  Texas."  The  greater  part  of 
Mr.  Gwin's  letter  is  taken  up  with  references  to  the  settlers  on 
preempted  lands,  whom  Mr.  Clay  had  opposed  and  had  called  a 
"lawless  rabble;"  and  he  concluded  "that  there  is  not  a  single 
measure  calculated,  in  my  judgment,  to  promote  the  welfare  of 
the  people  of  Mississippi  and  the  new  states  of  the  West,  which 
Mr.  Clay  has  not  uniformly  and  zealously  opposed,  and  Colonel 
Polk  as  warmly  and  constantly  advocated  and  supported." 

While  Mississippi  was  a  thorough  slave  State,  it  is  evident 
that  the  people  of  the  State  had  not  advanced  as  far  as  Mr. 
Calhoun  had  by  this  time,  or  as  Mr.  Stephens  had  by  1861,  far 
enough  to  believe  that  slavery  per  se  was  not  only  right,  but 
was  a  positive  blessing.  In  1843  a  case  was  brought  before  the 
High  Court  of  Errors  and  Appeals,  involving  that  clause  of  the 
Constitution  of  1832  which  forbade  the  importation  of  negroes 
as  merchandise  or  for  sale  after  the  first  day  of  May,  1833. 
The  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  had  previously  decided, 
in  a  case  involving  the  Mississippi  Constitution,  that  this  con- 
stitutional provision,  without  further  legislation,  was  not  an 
effective  prohibition.  The  Mississippi  court,  in  a  decision 
handed  down  by  Chief  Justice  Sharkey,  March  29,  1843,  held  that 
the  prohibition  was  effective.  The  court  went  on  to  say  in 
regard  to  the  Convention  of  1832  that  "its  design  was  evidently 
to  protect  the  people  against  a  supposed  evil.  A  time  was  fixed 
when  this  evil  should  be  prohibited."  This  decision  seems  to 
have  met  with  general  approval,  and  was  reprinted  by  request 
of  the  members  of  the  bar. 

Of  course  abolition  was  as  foreign  to  the  Whigs  in  Mississippi 
as  to  the  Democrats.  It  seems  strange  now  to  read  more  than 
once  in  the  Liberty  (Mississippi)  Advocate  the  charge  that  the 
Democrats  were  trying  to  bring  in  Texas  as  a  free  State,  and 
thus  encourage  abolition.  The  Independent  Democrat  (Canton), 
December  4th,  quotes  from  a  New  Orleans'  letter: 

"Little  Jimmy  Polk  has  been  placed  in  the  Presidential  chair  by  the 
combination  of  abolition  and  foreign  votes,  with  a  regular  i  ystem  of 
fraud  by  the  locofoco  .party  throughout  the  United  States." 


Presidential  Campaign  of  1844. — Walmsley.  195 

There  is  one  reason  for  believing  that  the  campaign  of  1844 
did  not  arouse  the  people  as  other  campaigns  had  done.  So  far 
as  the  writer  can  find,  there  were  no  duels  fought  among  the 
leading  participants  in  the  canvass,  and  that  in  a  country  and 
time  when  duels  were  "plenty  as  blackberries."  The  "code  of 
honor"  was  the  established  manner  of  settling  any  difference 
that  went  far  enough  to  impugn  either  participant's  motives. 
The  feeling  is  well  illustrated  by  an  expression  of  General  Foote 
in  his  Casket  of  Reminiscences.  One  gentleman  slapped  another's 
jaws,  "who,  unfortunately,  at  the  moment,  having  lost  his  pres- 
ence of  mind,  made  no  attempt  to  retaliate."  Just  before  the 
period  treated  in  this  article,  a  large  public  meeting  was  held  in 
Vicksburg,  at  which  resolutions  were  adopted  upholding  the 
practice  of  duelling,  and  recommending  this  method  of  settling 
disputes  among  men  of  honor.29  Readers  of  Mark  Twain  will 
remember  how  Judge  Driscoll  felt  absolutely  disgraced  because 
his  son  had  taken  a  case  of  assault  and  battery  to  court  instead 
of  settling  it  as  a  gentleman. 

But  during  the  campaign  a  different  sentiment  sprang  up. 
It  developed  that  while  Mr.  Clay  had  fought  several  duels 
Mr.  Polk  had  never  fought  one.  The  Democratic  papers  ac- 
cordingly became  very  pronounced  in  their  condemnation  of 
duelling,  and  especially  condemned  Dr.  William  Winans,  an 
eminent  Methodist  minister,  for  opening  Clay  meetings  with 
prayer.  This  newspaper  sermonizing  is  supposed  to  have  done 
something  towards  arousing  the  feeling  against  duelling. 

No  other  period  in  the  State's  history  has  been  so  fruitful  in 
the  organization  of  newspapers.  Among  the  many  organized 
in  this  year  was  Harry  of  the  West,  established  by  J.  J.  Choate,  Jr., 
at  Grenada,  in  March.  This  continued  after  the  election  for  a 
few  years,  but,  in  April,  1846,  when  it  became  clear  that  the 
title  no  longer  represented  a  living  issue,  it  was  sold  and  became 
a  "neutral"  paper  under  the  editorship  of  J.  Fred  Simmons. 

About  the  time  of  this  campaign  the  brilliant  and  ill-starred 
Col.  Alexander  McClung  established  the  True  Issue,  a  Whig 
newspaper,  at  Jackson.  It  was  considered  one  of  the  most  ably 
edited  papers  in  the  Southwest.  Colonel  McClung's  writings  on 
the  National  Bank  and  the  tariff  were  deservedly  famous  over 

"Foote,  Casket  of  Reminiscences,  p.  186. 


196  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

the  country.  Prentiss  is  said  to  have  used  numerous  extracts 
from  these  editorials  in  his  northern  campaign.30 

Another  interesting  feature  of  this  campaign  is  that  Gen. 
Henry  S.  Foote,  later  the  malignant  enemy  of  Jefferson  Davis, 
canvassed  the  State  in  company  with  Davis,  and  was  an  elector 
on  the  same  ticket  with  Davis.  Foote  was  the  better  in  com- 
bative argument,  but  Davis  excelled  him  in  methodical  and 
eloquent  treatment  of  a  subject.  Foote  is  considered  to  have 
been  rather  worsted  in  his  encounters  with  Judge  John  I.  Guion 
and  Gen.  Alexander  Bradford,  while  Davis  established  a  reputa- 
tion for  oratory  which  was  never  dimmed  thereafter.81 

The  result  of  the  campaign  is  well  known.  As  in  all  the  other 
states,  a  few  votes  would  have  changed  the  result.  It  is  con- 
sidered that  the  canvass  of  Davis  and  Foote  did  more  to  regain 
Mississippi  to  the  Democrats  than  any  other  one  cause.  Need- 
less to  say,  Mr.  Birney,  the  Liberty  candidate,  received  no  votes 
in  Mississippi.  Polk  had  25,126,  Clay  19,206.  It  is  interesting 
to  notice  that  the  Yazoo  Democrat,  established  August  10,  1844, 
in  its  first  issue  predicted  7,000  majority  for  Polk  in  Mississippi. 

Good  Whigs  believed  that  all  was  lost;  in  Mississippi,  as  in 
Kentucky,  strong  men  cried  like  children.  Prentiss  wrote: 

"I  am  perfectly  disgusted  with  the  result  of  the  election;  and  almost 
despair  of  the  Republic.  Still  there  is  some  hope.  The  Whig  party  is 
really  stronger  now  than  it  has  been  since  the  time  of  Washington.  We 
have  been  beaten  by  the  basest  frauds  and  corruption,  but  the  Locofoco 
party  contains  the  elements  of  its  own  destruction.  My  advice  is  that 
the  Whigs  fight  on  manfully,  under  the  same  name,  and  for  the  same 
principles.  If  locofocoism  cannot  be  conquered,  then  the  experiment  of 
free  government  has  failed.  The  Whigs  embrace  three-fourths  of  the 
intelligence,  moral  character,  and  property  of  the  United  States  and  also 
a  majority  of  the  qualified  votes.  These  seem  to  me  to  be  strong  elements 
of  success."32 

Not  all  Whigs  took  it  so  seriously.  The  Liberty  Advocate, 
one  of  the  ablest  of  the  Whig  papers,  had  been  sanguine  of 
Clay's  success,  but  in  its  first  issue  after  the  result  was  known 
was  able  to  publish  the  following  doggerel: 

"Hark,  from  the  pines33  a  doleful  sound, 

Mine  ears,  attend  the  cry; 
Ye  living  Whigs,  come  view  the  ground, 
Where  all  your  coons  do  lie. 

3 "Foote,  Casket  of  Reminiscences,  p.  439. 

31Reuben  Davis,  Recollections  of  Mississippi  and  Mississippians,  p.  192. 

s*Memoirs  of  S.  S.  Prentiss,  Vol.  II,  p.  339. 

33Piney  woods. 


Presidential  Campaign  of  1844. — Walmsley.  197 

Coonies!  this  Clay  will  be  your  bed, 

In  spite  of  all  your  braggers ; 
The  old,  the  wise,  the  reverend  heads, 

Have  all  got  the  blind  staggers." 

This  campaign  was  as  much  distinguished  for  its  humorous 
verses  as  the  previous  one  for  its  log  cabins,  hard  cider,  and  coons. 
Two  samples  may  be  given  from  the  large  number  found  in  the 
periodicals  of  the  day.  The  Oxford  Observer,  for  June  13,  1844, 
has  the  following: 

"The  coon  that  once  through  Whiggies'  halls, 

The  soul  of  music  shed, 
Now  crawls  as  mute  on  Whiggies'  walls, 
As  if  that  coon  were  dead." 

The  Mississippi  Free  Trader  (Natchez)  republished  an  article 
from  the  Transcript  (Providence,  R.  I.)  stating  that  all  the  negro 
voters  there — seven  hundred — would  vote  for  Clay,  and  adds: 

"De  niggar  vote  am  quite  surprising, 
We's  all  for  Clay  and  Frelinghuysing." 

The  Mississippi  Democrat  (Carrollton) ,  in  its  first  number, 
December  17,  1844,  makes  merry  over  the  "carriage  already 
built  and  sent  to  bring  the  Whig  President-elect  to  Washington." 

The  year  1844  may  be  considered  one  of  the  crucial  years  in 
our  Nation's  annals.  That  year  saw,  for  the  only  time  in  our 
history,  the  annexation  of  a  great  territory  submitted  to  the 
free  votes  of  the  American  people,  and  while  in  other  states 
besides  Mississippi  local  questions  must  have  influenced  the 
decision,  yet  it  was  unquestionably  the  will  of  the  people  that 
was  carried  out  when  Texas  became  a  part  of  our  dominion  in 
1845.  In  the  train  of  this  came  events  already  foreshadowed. 
In  May,  1844,  the  General  Conference  of  the  Methodist  Church 
took  steps  that  led  to  the  division  of  that  denomination  into 
Northern  and  Southern  branches.  Out  of  the  questions  con- 
nected with  the  organization  of  the  lands  acquired  from  Mexico 
came  feelings  which  culminated  in  the  Civil  War.  Yet  there  are 
few  people  to-day  who  would  on  sober  thought  reverse  the 
decision  of  the  polls  in  November,  1844,  and  no  one  who  would 
wish  to  repudiate  the  honorable  part  played  in  this  campaign 
by  the  orators  and  statesmen  of  Mississippi. 


•• 


DR.    JOHN   W.  MONETTE 


LIFE    AND    LITERARY    SERVICES   OF    DR.    JOHN    W. 

MONETTE. 

BY  FRANKLIN  L.  RILEY. 

John  Wesley  Monette  was  born  of  Huguenot  parentage  at 
Staunton,  Va.,  April  5,  1803.'  In  his  infancy  his  family  settled 
at  Chillicothe,  Ohio,  where  he  was  reared  and  educated.  In  his 
eighteenth  year  he  completed  the  course  of  study  prescribed  in 
the  Chillicothe  Academy,  which  was  then  recognized  as  "the 
first  institution  of  its  grade  northwest  of  the  Ohio."  He  showed 
an  early  fondness  for  all  kinds  of  literary  work.  In  fact  he  was 
so  much  attached  to  all  of  his  studies  that  it  is  impossible  to  say 
which  of  them  afforded  him  the  greatest  pleasure.  He  was  no 
less  proficient  in  literature  and  the  classics  than  in  mathematics 
and  the  natural  sciences.  He  prized  his  Iliad  and  other  text- 
books which  he  used  at  Chillicothe  so  highly  that  they  remained 
in  his  library  throughout  his  life,  some  of  them  being  used  by 
his  son  at  college  in  1862. 

In  the  year  1821  his  father,  Dr.  Samuel  Monette,2  removed  to 
the  then  flourishing  town  of  Washington,  the  early  capital  of 
Mississippi,  where  he  engaged  in  the  practice  of  medicine.  He 
also  directed  the  early  professional  studies  of  his  son,  who  had 
decided  to  become  a  physician.  Four  years  later,  March  21, 
1825,  John  Wesley  Monette  received  his  diploma  from  Transyl- 
vania University,  at  Lexington,  Ky.  He  immediately  returned 
home  and  resumed  the  practice  of  his  profession,  which  he  had 
engaged  in  some  time  before  the  completion  of  his  medical  course. 

'William  Monette,  grandfather  of  the  subject  of  this  sketch,  married 
a  daughter  of  William  Wayland.  To  them  were  born  two  sons,  Samuel 
and  William.  Samuel  had  seven  sons  and  one  daughter.  All  of  the  sons 
except  John  Wesley  and  James  died  young.  James  Monette  became  a 
planter  at  Bastrop,  La.,  where  he  died  in  1897  at  the  age  of  eighty-eight. 
The  daughter  of  Samuel  Monette,  Ann  Eliza,  became  the  wife  of  J.  W. 
Goodloe  of  Kentucky.  William,  the  brother  of  Samuel  Monette,  settled 
near  Greensboro,  Ala.,  where  some  of  his  descendants  still  live.  One  of 
his  sons,  James  Monette,  a  planter  and  merchant,  lived  in  Mobile,  Ala. 

2  Among  the  Monette  manuscripts  is  a  volume  entitled  "Poetical  Essays 
on  Sundry  Important  Subjects  m  Divinity,  both  Doctrinal  and  Argu- 
mentative," by  Samuel  Monette,  "Elder  in  the  Methodist  E.  Church  and 
Practicing  Physician  in  the  town  of  Chillicothe."  The  first  poem  in  this 
book  (here  called  Essay  ist)  and  the  only  one  in  the  hand-writing  of 
Dr.  Samuel  Monette,  contains  632  lines  and  bears  an  elaborate  title,  which 
reads  in  part  as  follows:  "On  Immortality  and  Fallen  State  of  the  World  " 
etc.  (Ip9) 


200  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

On  December  10,  1828,  he  married  Cornelia  Jane  Newman, 
daughter  of  George  and  Charlotte  Newman.3  To  this  union 
were  born  ten  children,  but  only  four  survived  childhood — Dr. 
George  N.  Monette,  a  citizen  of  New  Orleans;  A.  C.  Monette, 
who  died  in  Tallulah,  La.,  where  his  family  now  resides;4  Mrs. 
Anna  Monette  Brandon,  who  died  in  Natchez  several  years  ago,5 
and  Maria  Louise  Monette.,  of  New  Orleans,  La. 

Dr.  John  W.  Monette  was  a  student  by  nature,  and,  although 
he  was  actively  and  successfully  engaged  in  an  exacting  profes- 
sion, he  never  lost  interest  in  literary  work.  He  had  a  large 
and  well  selected  library ,  composed  principally  of  works  on  med- 
icine, history,  geography,  geology  and  theology.  In  order  to 
gratify  his  taste  for  research,  he  found  it  necessary  to  economize 
the  spare  moments  of  time  which  are  wasted  by  many  people 
without  a  thought  of  their  value  in  the  aggregate.  To  him 
idleness  seemed  almost  a  crime. 

His  temperament  seemed  to  combine  traits  that  are  more  or 
less  contradictory.  He  was  warm-hearted,  courteous  and  genial, 
yet  reserved,  austere  and  exacting.  He  was  not  irascible,  but 
was  strenuous  in  a  just  cause.  His  habits  were  most  exemplary. 
He  lived  at  a  time  when  the  use  of  tobacco  and  intoxicating 
drinks  was  widespread,  yet  he  abstained  from  both.  He  was 
strictly  religious,  being  for  years  an  officer  in  the  Methodist 
church.  His  fondness  for  his  home  and  his  strong  attachment 
to  his  large  family  made  his  domestic  life  a  source  of  constant 
pleasure.  He  enjoyed  public  debate,  and  when  engaged  therein 
drew  liberally  upon  his  great  fund  of  information  to  the  pleasure 
and  profit  of  his  hearers.  He  cared  little  for  formal  social  func- 
tions, and  found  little  time  for  social  intercourse  of  any  kind. 
As  he  was  not  fond  of  any  kind  of  sport,  he  usually  spent  his  lim- 
ited periods  of  recreation  in  his  garden  or  orchard,  where  he 

3George  Newman  was  a  native  of  Essex  County,  Massachusetts.  Char- 
lotte Newman  was  one  of  nine  children  of  Robert  Dunbar,  a  native  of 
Scotland,  who  came  to  America  about  1770,  and  of  Ann  Beaver  Dunbar, 
a  native  of  Virginia.  One  of  their  granddaughters  became  the  wife  of 
Col.  J.  F.  H.  Claiborne. 

4  One  of  A.  C.  Monette's  daughters  married  a  gentleman  by  the  name  of 
Johnson,  who  lives  in  Seattle,  Wash. 

5Anna  Monette  became  the  wife  of  Dr.  Jas.  C.  Brandon,  second  son  of 
Gerard  C.  Brandon,  one  of  the  governors  of  Mississippi.  She  became  the 
mother  of  Gerard  Brandon,  an  attorney  at  Natchez,  and  of  Hamilton 
Brandon  of  New  Orleans,  and  of  five  daughters,  Misses  Cornelia,  Anna, 
Louise,  Margaret  and  Ella  Brandon. 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       201 

combined  physical  exertion  with  study  of  the  nature  of  plant 
life. 

Dr.  Monette  was  also  a  man  of  affairs  and  touched  life  at  many 
points.  He  was  in  turn  a  trustee  of  Jefferson  College  and  mayor 
and  councilman  of  the  town  of  Washington.  He  was  a  success- 
ful financier,  as  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  he  accumulated  large 
property  interests  and  was  successfully  engaged  in  cotton  cul- 
ture. He  cared  little  for  public  life,  but  felt  a  deep  interest  in 
the  administration  of  public  affairs. 

In  1823,  shortly  after  Dr.  Monette  began  the  study  of  med- 
icine, an  epidemic  of  yellow  fever  broke  out  in  Natchez  and  was 
soon  conveyed  to  the  town  of  Washington,  which  is  only  six  miles 
distant.  This  afforded  the  young  medical  student  an  excellent 
opportunity  to  study  the  disease  as  it  appeared  in  his  father's 
practice.  Two  years  later,  soon  after  his  graduation,  a  more 
fatal  epidemic  of  yellow  fever  visited  Natchez  and  Washington, 
both  towns  being  well-nigh  depopulated.  This  epidemic 
afforded  to  Dr.  Monette  and  his  life-long  friend,  Dr.  Cartwright, 
their  first  opportunity  to  acquire  distinction  in  their  profession. 
In  referring  to  their  essays"  on  the  subject  of  yellow  fever  which 
were  written  at  that  time  and  subsequently,  a  contributor  to 
DeBow's  Review  says  that  they  "soon  placed  their  reputation 
among  the  best  contributors  to  the  medical  literature  of  the  day 
and  secured  for  them  both  a  practice  always  lucrative,  and 
which,  it  is  believed,  never  waned  while  they  chose  to  attend 
it."7  On  December  2,  1837,  Dr.  Monette  read  before  the  Jeffer- 
son College  and  Washington  Lyceum  an  interesting  paper, 
entitled  "The  Epidemic  Yellow  Fevers  of  Natchez,"  in  which 
he  suggested  the  use  of  quarantines  in  restricting  the  disease. 
This  contribution  was  published  by  the  Lyceum  in  its  official 
organ,  the  Southwestern  Journal.*  A  copy  of  this  essay  was 
presented  to  each  selectman  of  the  town  of  Natchez.8  In  refer- 

6  An  article  by  Dr.  Monette  entitled  "Yellow  Fever  of  Washington, 
Mississippi,"  will  be  found  in  the  Western  Medical  and  Physical  Journal 
(Vol.  I,  pp.  73-85),  published  at  Cincinnati,  beginning  with  the  year  1827. 

'See  DeDow's  Review,  Volume  XI,  page  93. 

8See  Southwestern  Journal,  Volume  I,  Nos.  5,  6,  7,  and  10.  The  sub- 
title of  this  periodical  as  given  on  the  cover  reads  as  follows:  "A  Maga- 
zine of  Science,  Literature,  and  Miscellany.  Published  semi-monthly  by 
the  Jefferson  College  and  Washington  Lyceum."  The  first  issue  bears 
the  date  December  15,  1837. 

"See  Mississippi  Free  Trader,  October  21,  1841. 


2O2  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

ring  to  this  series  of  articles  by  Dr.  Monette,  the  Mississippi 
Free  Trader  of  March  30,  1838,  says  that  had  his  quarantine 
"theory  been  known  and  received  before  the  epidemic  of  last 
autumn  it  might  have  saved  hundreds  of  lives."  The  return  of 
the  epidemic  in  1839  gave  Dr.  Monette  an  opportunity  to  con- 
tinue his  investigations.  He  shortly  afterwards  published  a 
small  volume,  entitled  Observations  on  the  Epidemic  Yellow 
Fevers  of  Natchez  and  the  Southwest  from  1817  to  1839.  When 
the  next  yellow  fever  epidemic  broke  out  in  New  Orleans 
in  the  summer  of  1841  Dr.  Monette  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing 
his  quarantine  theory  put  to  a  test.10  The  gratifying  result  of 
this  experiment  is  forcibly  expressed  in  the  following  extract 
from  the  Mississippi  Frev  Trader  of  October  21,  1841. 

"The  blessing  of  extraordinary  health,  which  has  peculiarly  distin- 
guished our  beautiful  city  the  past  summer  and  the  present  autumn,  we 
vtnhesitatingly  attribute  to  the  enforcing  of  the  quarantine.  *  *  * 
The  disease  surrounds  us — -in  New  Orleans,  in  the  towns  on  'the  coast,' 
and  in  our  sister  city,  Vicksburg." 

This  article  continues  with  a  history  of  Dr.  Monette's  services, 
which  led  to  the  enforcement  of  the  quarantine.  It  is  claimed 
that  this  was  the  first  time  that  an  attempt  was  ever  made  to 
control  the  spread  of  yellow  fever  by  means  of  quarantine,  and 
that  to  Dr.  Monette  is  due  the  credit  of  originating  this  method 
of  restricting  the  disease. 

The  successful  result  of  Dr.  Monette's  quarantine  experiment 
increased  the  demand  for  articles  from  his  pen  dealing  with  the 
subject  of  yellow  fever.  In  the  winter  of  1842-3  he  contributed 
a  series  of  papers  on  this  subject  to  the  Western  Journal  of  Med- 
icine and  Surgery,  published  at  Louisville,  Ky.  The  following 
notice  of  these  articles  was  published  in  the  columns  of  the  Free 
Trader: 

"Any  one  would  be  more  than  compensated  for  the  price  of  subscrip- 
tion by  the  very  luminous  and  convincing  articles  of  our  fellow-citizen, 

10  The  following  extract  is  taken  from  the  Mississippi  Free  Trader  of 
August  26,  1841:  "Yellow  Fever. — The  increase  of  this  disease  in  New 
Orleans  and  the  probability  of  its  becoming  an  epidemic  render  it  neces- 
sary that  our  City  Council  should  put  the  quarantine  laws  in  force  at  once. 
Every  day's  delay  renders  the  project  less  useful.  If  the  experiment  is 
to  be  tried  it  ought  to  be  done  immediately.  Although  there  are  many 
who  believe  that  a  quarantine  can  effect  nothing,  yet  we  think  it  ought 
to  be  tried.  It  can  be  productive  of  no  evil,  and  certainly  no  means 
should  be  left  untried  to  guard  our  city  against  this  dreadful  scourge." 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       203 

Dr.  John  W.  Monette,  on  yellow  fever,  which  are  being  published  in  the 
Journal. 

"So  far  as  we  are  able  to  judge,  the  Doctor  handles  the  subject  with  great 
ability,  exhibiting  close  observation,  deep  research  and  discrimination. 
He  examines  thoroughly  the  theories  and  arguments  advanced  in  favor 
of  the  domestic  origin  of  yellow  fever  in  our  seaports  and  inland  towns, 
and  shows  them,  as  we  think,  to  be  unreasonable  and  fallacious.  The 
article,  we  perceive,  is  to  be  continued  in  subsequent  numbers  of  the 
Journal.  Those  who  have  adopted  the  repulsive  opinion  that  our  pleasant 
plantations  on  the  Mississippi  generate  this  pestilential  disease  will,  *  *  * 
unprejudiced  by  the  ipse  dixit  of  medical  teachers,  peruse  the  clear  details 
and  convincing  arguments  contained  in  these  numbers;  and  we  think 
that  they  will  agree  that  the  yellow  fever  may  be  excluded  from  all  the 
towns  on  the  Mississippi  River,  as  it  was  the  past  season  from  Natchez. 
We  noted  some  weeks  since  that  Prof.  Dickinson  of  Charleston,  S.  C.,  a 
distinguished  member  of  the  faculty,  and  formerly  an  advocate  of  the 
domestic  origin  of  yellow  fever,  had  declared  his  convictions  to  be  'in 
favor  of  the  views  advanced  by  Dr.  Monette.'  We  are  not  sufficiently 
informed  to  set  ourselves  up  as  judges  in  the  matter,  but  we  confess  that 
all  the  doubts  that  we  ever  entertained  on  the  subject  have  been  removed 
by  the  strong  array  of  facts  and  the  plain,  common-sense  arguments  and 
deductions  of  the  Doctor."11 

In  1851  a  writer  in  DeBow's  Review  says  that  as  a  result  of 
Dr.  Monette's  quarantine  method  Natchez  has  not  had  an  epi- 
demic of  yellow  fever  since  1839,  "while  all  the  villages,  above 
and  below,  small  and  great,  have  been  several  times  severely 
scourged  by  it."ia 

Dr.  Monette's  other  contributions  to  the  science  of  medicine 
are  numerous  and  interesting.  The  Western  Medical  Journal  of 
June,  1827,  refers  to  his  use  of  oil  of  turpentine  as  an  external 
irritant,  particularly  in  the  treatment  of  typhus  fever,  in  lan- 
guage that  would  lead  the  reader  to  suppose  that  he  was  a 
pioneer  in  the  use  of  this  now  familiar  remedy.  His  other  con- 
tributions to  medical  reviews  are  too  numerous  and  technical  to 
be  given  in  detail  in  this  connection. 

Dr.  Monette's  earlier  literary  efforts  outside  the  field  of  pro- 
fessional  contributions  seem  to  have  been  directed  principally 

"Mississippi  Free  Trader,  January  5,  1842.  The  article  from  which 
the  above  extract  is  taken  ends  with  the  definitions  of  two  important  ele- 
ments of  disease,  quoted  from  Doctor  Monette's  paper: 

"i.  Contagion  is  a  poisonous  material,  capable  of  exciting  a  peculiar 
disease  in  healthy  bodies  exposed  to  its  influence,  and  emanating  with  that 
capacity  or  power  at  all  times  and  under  all  ordinary  circumstances  from 
a  body  laboring  under  that  peculiar  disease. 

"2  Infection  is  some  noxious,  gaseous  matter,  capable  of  exciting  cer- 
tain kinds  of  fever,  and  not  emanating  in  that  form,  having  the  power  of 
exciting  the  disease  from  some  property  assumed  after  it  has  emanated 
from  a  diseased  body.  Such  is  the  infection  of  yellow  fever  " 

"DeBow's  Review,  Vol.  XI,  p.  93. 


2O4  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

to  the  subject  of  natural  history.  As  early  as  1824  he  prepared 
a  carefully  written  "essay"  of  201  manuscript  pages  "on  the 
Causes  of  the  Variety  of  the  Complexion  and  the  Form  of  the 
Human  Species."13  This  paper  seems  to  have  been  prepared 
largely  for  his  own  entertainment,  with  a  probable  purpose  of 
its  ultimate  publication.  It  was  afterwards  rewritten  and 
enlarged,  the  final  copy  covering  249  manuscript  pages  of  letter- 
size  paper.  In  this  essay  he  attempts  to  show  the  primitive 
unity  of  the  human  race  and  to  prove  that  racial  differences  can 
be  accounted  for  by  the  influence  of  environmental  conditions. 
He  considers  man  as  an  independent  species  and  rejects  the 
hypothesis  of  certain  philosophers  that  there  is  a  close  analogy 
between  man  and  the  simia  tribe.  He  shows  the  effect  of  climate 
and  natural  surroundings  on  complexion,  corporeal  development, 
language,  hair,  etc.,  and  fortifies  his  contention  by  citing  parallel 
effects  upon  the  lower  animals.  He  also  traces  the  influences 
of  "state  of  society  and  manner  of  living,"  fashion,  and  of  other 
"artificial"  conditions  upon  different  races,  and  compares  them 
to  analogous  influences  shown  by  domestication  of  animals  and 
plants.  He  admits  that  there  are  at  rare  intervals  certain 
"aberrations  of  nature,"  regardless  of  the  uniformity  of  surround- 
ing conditions. 

The  writer  of  this  essay  shows  extensive  and  accurate  infor- 
mation upon  the  races  of  the  earth  and  gives  evidence  of  a  thor- 
ough study  of  the  authorities  available  to  him.14  He  also  shows 

1 3The  writer  of  this  sketch  acknowledges  with  pleasure  his  obligations 
to  Dr.  T.  P.  Bailey  and  Dr.  W.  S.  Leathers,  of  the  faculty  of  the  Univer- 
sity of  Mississippi,  for  valuable  assistance  in  the  treatment  of  the  scientific 
writings  of  Doctor  Monette. 

1 4  In  order  to  give  the  reader  a  conception  of  the  contents  of  Doctor 
Monette's  library,  a  list  of  the  authorities  cited  by  him  in  this  essay  is 
here  given.  It  is  as  follows :  Sparks'  Life  of  Ledyard;  Goldsmith's  Animal 
Nature;  Guthrie's  Geography;  Acerbi's  Travels;  Lord  Kaim's  Sketches  of 
Man;  Malte  Brun's  Umversal  Geography;  Edinburgh  Encyclopedia; 
Lavoisne's  Historical  Atlas;  Madden's  Travels  in  Turkey,  Egypt,  Nubia 
and  Palestine;  Denham  and  Clapperton's  Travels;  Doctor  Smith's  Essay 
on  Variety  of  Human  Species;  Medical  Repository;  McKensie's  Voyages; 
Dr.  James  Johnson's  Tropical  Climate;  Buffon's  Natural  History;  Medical 
Inquiries;  Rapel's  Nubia  and  Abyssinia;  Russell's  History  of  Egypt;  Lan- 
der's Travels  in  Africa;  Gillie's  History  of  the  World;  Brooks'  Gazeteer; 
Dwight's  Travels  in  New  England;  Dwight's  History  of  American  Indians; 
Historical  Dictionary;  Buchanan's  Researches  in  Asia;  Smith's  Journal  of 
Missionary  Voyage  to  the  Pacific;  Dampier's  Voyages;  Keat's  Account  of 
the  Pacific  Islands;  Transactions  of  the  Royal  Society  of  London;  Milman's 
History  of  the  Jews;  Richerand's  Physiology;  Bichat's  General  Anatomy; 
Wilke's  History  of  the  South  of  India;  Pan's  Medical  Dictionary;  Nichol- 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       205 

a  discriminative  grasp  of  his  subject  and  not  a  little  skill  in 
arranging  his  well-chosen  facts  to  make  out  his  case.  Although 
he  seems  to  show  that  faith  in  environmental  influences  so 
strongly  held  by  Herbert  Spencer  a  quarter  of  a  century  later, 
he  is  not  at  all  lacking  in  appreciation  of  what  Darwin  later 
called  "spontaneous  variations."  For  instance,  one  section  of 
Dr.  Monette's  essay  bears  the  heading,  "Fortuitous  Aberrations 
and  Partial  Peculiarities."  The  use  he  makes  of  this  principle 
in  accounting  for  the  existence  of  the  negro  race  is  perhaps  more 
interesting  than  scientific.  He  suggests  that  one  of  the  sons  of 
Ham  was  "preternaturally  black,  with  wooly  and  curled  hair, 
and  with  other  negro  features."  This  original  "aberration" 
married  a  woman  with  similar  physical  features,  which  helped 
to  accentuate  and  perpetuate  in  his  offspring  the  peculiarities 
of  his  father,  until  in  course  of  time  it  produced  a  distinct  racial 
type.  It  is  easy  to  smile  at  the  author's  naivett,  but  has  he 
not  in  principle  followed  the  Darwinian  method  of  helping  out 
natural  selection  by  means  of  spontaneous  variation  ? 

Climate  is  regarded  by  Dr.  Monette  as  the  most  potent  factor 
in  working  changes  and  affecting  varieties.  He  classified  the 
peoples  of  the  earth  according  to  climatic  zones  or  belts.  In  this 
part  of  his  researches  he  anticipated  by  more  than  eighty  years 
an  important  phase  of  biological  study,  known  as  ecology.  To 
aid  him  in  the  study  of  the  effects  of  climate  on  color,  he  had  a 
series  of  maps  prepared  which  embraced  all  countries  and  the 
islands  of  the  sea.  Each  body  of  land  was  colored  so  as  to  show 
the  exact  complexion  of  its  native  inhabitants  at  the  beginning 
of  its  history.  We  are  informed  that  these  maps  were  intended 
only  for  private  use  and  not  for  publication.16 

The  details  and  facts  pertaining  to  the  influence  of  climate  on 
corporeal  and  mental  development,  as  given  by  Dr.  Monette, 
seem  to  be  sound  and  convincing.  It  is  evident  that  tem- 
perament, sensibility,  mental  development,  period  of  puberty, 

son's  Encyclopedia;  Darwin's  Zoonomia;  Acerbi's  Travels  in  Lapland; 
Robertson's  History  of  Charles  V;  Burns'  Obstetrics;  Good's  Study  of  Med- 
icine; Rees'  Cyclopedia;  Good's  Variety  of  Human  Species;  Paris'  Pharma- 
colpgia;  Smith's  Introduction  to  Botany;  Report  of  Committee  for  Consid- 
ering of  Slave  Trade,  1789;  LeMaire's  Voyage  to  Cape  Verde,  Gambia,  and 
Senegal;  Haller's  Elements  of  Physiology;  Chapman's  Medical  and  Phys- 
ical Journal. 

Review,  Vol.  XI,  p.  96. 


206  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

together  with  corporeal  development,  are  materially  affected  by 
extrinsic  causes.  It  is  clear  that  many  principles  published  by 
Darwin  in  1869,  in  the  widely  recognized  literary  prize  of  the 
last  century,  The  Origin  of  Species,  were  stated  by  Dr.  Monette 
in  a  hypothetical  way  thirty-five  years  earlier.  One  of  these 
writers  based  his  conclusions  on  deductive  and  the  other  on 
inductive  reasoning.  Darwin's  book  was  the  result  of  twenty 
years  of  the  most  painstaking  effort,  the  product  of  a  profound 
study  of  nature,  and  the  principles  which  he  presented  are  there- 
fore more  definite,  convincing  and  scientific  than  are  those  given 
by  Dr.  Monette.  This  comparison  is  here  made  to  show  that 
Dr.  Monette  possessed  many  profound  conceptions  of  nature 
and  her  laws  and  had  acquired  the  power  of  logical  reasoning 
and  keen  discrimination,  as  well  as  the  ability  to  draw  accurate 
scientific  conclusions. 

Although  Dr.  Monette  shows  a  reverent  regard  for  the  Scrip- 
tures, he  is  not  inclined  to  accept  them  as  scientific  authorities. 
He  is  glad  to  find  his  conclusions  corroborated  by  the  ancient 
writer  of  Genesis,  but  is  not  led  to  his  conclusions  by  an  attempt 
to  square  his  facts  with  Genesis. 

Dr.  Monette's  view  that  variations  of  the  human  stature 
become  obliterated  by  inter-marriage,  unless  peculiarities  of 
environment  accentuate  them,  is  very  probably  an  independent 
statement  of  a  conclusion  scientifically  arrived  at  by  Galton  and 
others  during  the  seventies.  His  reference  to  the  occasional 
production  of  "curly -haired"  cattle  and  "frizzled"  chickens 
indicate  his  tendency  to  reason  from  his  own  observation  as  well 
as  from  data  furnished  by  others. 

Summing  up  our  estimate  of  this  essay,  we  may  characterize 
it  as  the  work  of  a  keen  observer,  with  scientific  spirit  and 
method  and  with  philosophic  breadth  of  mind,  who  might  have 
achieved  important  results  through  scientific  investigation  had 
suitable  opportunities  come  to  him.  His  patience,  industry, 
logical  acumen  and  open-mindedness  are  manifest  on  almost 
every  page  of  this  interesting  production.  An  excellent  sum- 
mary of  this  essay  is  given  at  the  conclusion,  beginning  on  page 
248.  It  reads  as  follows : 

"In  the  preceding  pages  we  have  seen  the  powerful  effects  of  climate 
as  produced  in  a  change  of  complexion  from  fair  to  brown  and  black  and 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       207 

vice  versa.  *  *  *  We  have  seen  also  that  corporeal  development, 
form,  constitution  and  intellectual  vigour  are  modified  by  climate,  and 
that  the  same  or  corresponding  influences  are  exerted  upon  all  inferior 
animals  and  plants.  We  have  seen  likewise  the  extensive  influence  of  art, 
customs  and  manner  of  living  on  both  the  physical  and  intellectual  natures 
of  man ;  also  the  corresponding  effects  of  culture  upon  animals  and  plants. 
We  have  shown  how  extensive  may  be  the  influence  of  these  causes  in 
producing  diversities  among  men ;  we  have  further  shown  the  numerous 
fortuitous  aberrations  of  nature  in  effecting  partial  peculiarities,  which 
may  or  may  not  be  perpetuated.  All  those  tend  forcibly  to  prove  that 
the  diversities  of  the  human  family  are  the  results  of  adventitious  causes 
operating  subsequently  to  the  primitive  creation. 

"When  we  reflect  upon  the  great  flexibility  of  the  nature  of  man  and 
the  great  variety  of  modifying  influences  to  which  he  is  subject,  and  to 
which  he  has  been  subject  for  nearly  six  thousand  years,  we  are  sur- 
prised that  the  diversity  is  not  more  extensive  than  it  is — that  some 
striking  monstrosities  have  not  been  propagated  until  a  race  of  monsters 
was  produced.  The  impartial  philosopher  will  be  far  from  carping  and 
quibbling  at  trivial  peculiarities  when  he  considers  the  endless  variety  of 
adventitious  influences  to  which  man  is  constantly  exposed.  He  sees 
that  it  is  both  rational  and  consistent  with  the  established  order  of  nature, 
and  he  sees  the  same  confirmed  by  analogy  through  the  whole  of  the 
animal  and  vegetable  kingdoms.  This  he  sees,  exclusive  of  the  testimony 
of  revelation,  which  declares,  in  most  unequivocal  language,  to  our  reason 
as  well  as  to  our  faith,  that  the  human  family  are  descended  from  a  prim- 
itive unity  and  identity  of  origin." 

Another  paper  belonging  to  the  early  period  of  Dr.  Monette's 
literary  activity  bears  the  title  "Essay  on  the  Improbability  of 
Spontaneous  Production  of  Animals  and  Plants."  This  contri- 
bution is  also  found  in  manuscript  form  and  was  probably  never 
published.  It  is  a  very  readable  paper,  and  is  decidedly  inter- 
esting even  at  this  time  when  the  evidence  against  spontaneous 
production  has  become  overwhelming.  In  order  to  appreciate 
it  the  reader  must  bear  in  mind  the  fact  that  when  it  was  written 
the  science  of  biology  was  not  in  existence  and  natural  history 
held  the  field.  Dr.  Monette's  naturalist  spirit  is,  however,  as 
valuable,  nay  necessary,  to-day  as  it  was  eighty  years  ago. 
Indeed,  fairly  educated  people  of  to-day  gape  in  wonder  over 
the  "spontaneous"  origin  of  plants  in  a  burned-over  district,  the 
raining  down  of  fish  and  the  like. 

The  subject  is  discussed  under  the  following  heads:  i,  Pre- 
liminary remarks;  2,  Analysis  of  the  doctrine;  3,  Progressive 
sexuality  and  generation;  4,  A  discussion  of  those  forms  of  life 
whose  existence  was  accounted  for  by  the  doctrine  of  spontaneous 
production;  5,  Seeds  of  cryptogamic  plants;  6,  The  dissemina- 
tion of  seeds  of  phanerogamic  plants;  7,  The  application  of 


208  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

these  principles  to  explain  the  appearance  of  new  plants  in  dif- 
ferent and  in  many  cases  isolated  places. 

The  introduction  to  the  paper  shows  that  the  author  had  an 
accurate  conception  of  the  principles  and  laws  underlying  and 
governing  the  various  forms  of  animal  and  plant  life.  During 
the  early  part  of  the  last  century  the  advocates  of  spontaneous 
generation  were  enthusiastic  and  persistent  in  their  belief  that 
the  lower  forms  of  life  owe  their  origin  to  equivocal  or  fortuitous 
generations,  but  the  writer  of  this  paper  shows  by  the  following 
statement  that  he  is  somewhat  in  advance  of  the  rank  and  file 
of  his  day : 

"Numerous  have  been  the  discoveries  in  the  department  of  natural 
history,  and  the  former  vague  and  hypothetical  opinions  have  given  place 
to  a  more  enlightened  system,  based  upon  deep  research  and  indubitable 
facts.  And  that  doctrine  which  attributes  the  existence  of  many  animals, 
animalcules  and  plants  to  equivocal  generations  or  a  fortuitous  combina- 
tion of  particles  is  fast  exploding  before  the  light  of  reason  and  the  advance 
of  science." 

Although  Dr.  Monette  does  not  argue  the  question  from  the 
experimental  standpoint,  he  presents  a  strong,  accurate  and 
logical  array  of  facts,  based  on  observation  and  deduction.  The 
paper  is  written  in  a  popular  style,  and  is,  in  the  light  of  the  time, 
rather  a  remarkable  production.  Twenty-five  or  thirty  years 
later  Tyndale  proved  by  a  series  of  careful  experiments  the  utter 
fallacy  of  the  doctrine  of  spontaneous  production,  but  the  same 
conclusion  had  been  reached  by  Dr.  Monette  from  reasoning 
based  upon  extensive  reading,  a  philosophical  insight  and  accu- 
rate observation.  He  seems  to  have  been  familiar  with  the  lit- 
erature of  the  subject  and  shows  decided  ability  in  correlating 
facts  in  support  of  his  position.  The  writer  is  at  a  loss  to  know 
why  Dr.  Monette  crossed  out  with  pencil  marks  each  and  every 
page  of  this  essay.  It  is  a  beautiful  illustration  of  the  logical 
and  scientific  attitude  of  writers  of  the  field-naturalist  type 
before  the  development  of  experimental  science. 

The  first  number  of  the  Southwestern  Journal  contains  an  inter- 
esting essay  read  by  Dr.  Monette  before  the  Jefferson  College 
and  Washington  Lyceum  on  "The  Limited  Nature  of  Human 
Research."  The  following  brief  extract  from  this  production  is 
here  given,  because  it  seems  to  offer  a  clew  to  the  explanation 
of  his  remarkable  scientific  and  literary  activity : 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       209 

"A  knowledge  of  the  laws  which  regulate  matter  and  spirit,  so  far  as 
man  can  trace  them,  is  called  science,  the  attainment  of  which,  however 
difficult  and  abstruse,  constitutes  one  of  the  greatest  intellectual  pleasures 
which  we  can  enjoy.  The  pleasure  of  discovery  is  in  direct  proportion  to 
the  increased  difficulty  of  investigation.  If  our  minds  could  seize  upon 
principles  and  hidden  facts  with  that  perspicuity  which  angels  may  pos- 
sess, constituted  as  we  are,  the  interest,  the  desire  of  knowledge,  the  nov- 
elty of  discovery,  the  pleasure  of  gratified  curiosity  would  not  be  ours. 
The  vigorous  intellect  would  sink  into  satiety  and  inglorious  indolence. 
For  the  greater  the  mystery,  the  more  a  subject  is  hedged  in  with  uncer- 
tainty and  doubt,  where  hypothesis  upon  hypothesis  is  exhausted  in  the 
solution,  the  more  attractive  is  it  to  the  restless  genius  of  man.  His 
mind  is  continually  in  search  of  something  intricate  for  its  operation, 
something  difficult  to  unravel,  for  strange  as  it  is  his  mind  seems  dis- 
gusted with  simplicity  in  all  its  forms,  and  turns  to  investigate  something 
mysterious  merely  because  it  is  mysterious. 

"But  how  humiliating  to  human  pride  to  know  that  the  most  splendid 
acquirements  made  by  the  most  towering  genius  have  only  been  able  to 
ascertain,  in  part,  a  few  of  the  operations  carried  on  in  the  universe! 
When  we  attempt  to  pry  into  the  causes  of  the  order  and  operations  of 
nature  we  perceive  beyond  what  at  first  appeared  causes  still  other  causes 
— mystery  upon  mystery,  extending  in  endless  succession,  far  beyond  the 
reach  of  our  limited  faculties.  In  the  search  man's  strongest  intellect 
might  advance,  were  it  possible,  with  unabated  ardour,  through  all  time, 
and  still  not  have  entered  the  vestibule  of  the  great  temple  of  knowledge. 
How  humiliating  to  our  self-pride  to  know  that  of  us,  who  probably  boast 
of  our  knowledge  of  sciences,  of  arts,  or  of  a  few  of  the  languages  of  this 
babbling  earth,  not  one  in  a  thousand  shall  ever  attain  that  exalted 
stand,  which  but  few  have  attained,  to  know  how  ignorant  we  are  and 
how  unbounded  is  the  field  of  science  beyond  our  reach." 

Dr.  Monette's  place  in  the  scientific  history  of  our  country 
must  of  necessity  be  a  humble  one.  As  most  of  his  scientific 
productions  were  left  unpublished,  his  researches  produced  little 
influence  outside  of  the  circle  of  his  personal  acquaintances. 
The  striking  similarity  between  his  writings  and  those  of  Dr. 
John  Mitchell,  who  lived  a  century  earlier  in  Dr.  Monette's 
native  State,  is  interesting.  There  is  no  evidence,  however,  to 
show  that  Dr.  Monette  was  aware  of  this  fact18 

Dr.  Monette's  interest  in  scientific  subjects  may  have  been  due 
to  some  extent  to  the  scientific  atmosphere  of  his  native  State.17 

The  results  of  his  diligent  efforts  are  pathetic.  He  seemed  to 
be  completely  enamored  of  science,  but  his  ideals  were  so  exalted 

1 « In  1 743  Doctor  Mitchell  communicated  to  the  Royal  Society  an  essay 
on  "The  Causes  of  Different  Colors  of  People  in  Different  Climates."  He 
also  wrote  a  valuable  contribution  to  medical  science  about  the  yellow 
fever  epidemic  of  1 737-1 742.  It  is  thought  that  these  points  of  similarity 
are  not  due  to  any  conscious  imitation  on  the  part  of  Doctor  Monette, 
since  his  writings  contain  no  references  to  those  of  his  predecessor. 

1 7  Between  1 780  and  1 800  Virginia  had  fourteen  members  in  the  American 
Philosophical  Society,  while  Massachusetts,  New  York  and  Maryland  had 
only  six  each  and  the  Carolinas  eight. 


2io  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

he  could  not  get  his  consent  to  publish  many  of  the  treatises 
that  he  prepared  with  the  greatest  care  from  time  to  time.  Dr. 
Monette,  like  Dr.  W.  C.  Wells,  recognized  the  theory  of  natural 
selection  long  before  the  publication  of  Darwin's  great  work.18 
Unfortunately  for  Dr.  Monette,  while  he  felt  the  effects  of  that 
"thirst  for  natural  sciences"  which,  in  the  words  of  Eaton,  the 
pioneer  geologist  of  America,  pervaded  "the  United  States  like 
the  progress  of  an  epidemic,"  he  was  deprived  of  association  with 
the  scientific  men  of  his  day.  In  order  to  overcome  this  misfor- 
tune, he  spent  money  more  lavishly  than  discriminatingly  for 
books.  Yet  the  only  evidence  that  remains  of  his  persistent 
efforts  to  penetrate  the  secret  of  nature  is  the  large  batch  of 
manuscripts,  now  yellow  with  age,  which  are  prized  by  his  son 
as  a  most  precious  family  heritage.  Like  his  great  predecessor, 
William  Dunbar,19  the  pioneer  scientist  of  the  Mississippi  Valley, 
his  name  does  not  appear  in  the  history  of  American  science,20 
yet  his  services  entitle  him  to  distinction  in  the  State  of  his 
adoption. 

As  early  as  1833  Dr.  Monette  entered  upon  his  great  literary 
undertaking — the  writing  of  an  elaborate  work  on  the  geography 
and  history  of  the  Mississippi  Valley.  His  original  plan  embraced 
only  a  book  on  the  physical  geography  of  the  Mississippi  Valley, 
and  he  spent  several  years  upon  this  work  before  deciding  to 
enlarge  it  so  as  to  embrace  also  the  political  geography  and  his- 
tory of  this  great  region.  His  intimate  friend  and  associate  in 
scientific  work,  Prof.  C.  G.  Forshey,  of  Jefferson  College,  tells  us 
that  in  the  year  1837  Dr.  Monette  thought  that  his  physical 
geography  was  well-nigh  ready  for  the  press,  and  he  was  then 
rewriting  it,  inserting  some  additions  and  notes,  with  a  view  to 
its  early  publication.  Professor  Forshey  adds: 

"But  before  he  could  complete  his  revision  and  copy,  new  information, 
which  he  was  constantly  obtaining,  required  to  be  inserted  in  the  portions 
already  completed.  And  in  this  manner  the  work  has  been  rewritten 
and  enlarged  several  times,  as  new  information  required,  and  so  sedu- 
lously anxious  was  its  author  to  give  it  the  greatest  possible  perfectness 
that  he  could  never  consent  to  hand  it  over  to  the  publishers.  Meanwhile, 

18See  Origin  of  Species,  6th  ed.,  pp.  XV-XVII. 

19See  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  Vol.  II. 

2 "See  George  Brown  Goode's  The  Beginnings  of  Natural  History  in 
America  and  The  Beginnings  of  American  Science,  published  by  the  Gov- 
ernment Printing  Office,  Washington,  1901  (House  Documents,  Vol.  79, 
Pt.  II,  National  Museum  Report,  1897,  Pt.  II). 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       an 

he  found  in  his  travels  and  investigations  of  soil,  climate,  productions, 
population,  settlement,  and  industry  of  the  valley,  that  he  could  not 
easily  separate  the  historical  from  the  physical  part  of  his  work. 

"At  the  instance  of  some  of  his  friends  whose  judgment  he  valued,  but 
with  some  diffidence  and  hesitation,  he  undertook,  about  the  year  1841, 
to  write  the  History  of  the  Valley  as  a  separate  volume  of  his  work,  but 
before  it  was  completed  he  found  his  plan  would  make  two  large  octavo 
volumes." 

In  1845  tne  Natchez  Free  Trader  issued  a  prospectus  announc- 
ing that  that  office  would  publish  a  new  work  by  Dr.  John  W. 
Monette,  entitled  "The  Valley  of  the  Mississippi,"  in  two  parts, 
part  ist  containing  "the  history  of  the  discovery  and  settlement 
of  the  Mississippi  Valley  (in  two  volumes  octavo,  and  compris- 
ing not  less  than  550  pages  each");  part  2d  containing  "the 
physical  geography  of  the  Valley  of  the  Mississippi  (in  two  vol- 
umes octavo,  comprising  not  less  than  500  pages  each)."  The 
prospectus  announced  that  the  first  part  (two  volumes)  would 
be  ready  for  the  press  by  the  fall  of  1843,  and  that  the  second 
part  (two  volumes)  would  be  completed  for  the  press  by  the  close 
of  the  next  spring.  It  stated  that  "both  portions  can  be  pub- 
lished in  the  course  of  next  year  if  the  list  of  subscribers  will 
justify  the  undertaking." 

For  some  unknown  reason  Dr.  Monette  changed  his  plan,  and 
the  historical  part  of  his  work  was  published  by  the  Harpers  in 
1846.  As  this  pioneer  work  in  the  history  of  the  Mississippi  Val- 
ley is  familiar  to  historical  students,  no  attempt  will  be  made  to 
give  an  elaborate  account  of  it  in  this  connection.  The  appear- 
ance of  the  manuscripts  of  his  history  shows  that  this  part  of 
his  work  was  done  with  the  greatest  care.  If  further  evidence 
of  this  fact  were  necessary  it  could  be  furnished  by  his  private 
copy  of  these  published  volumes,  to  which  the  writer  of  this 
paper  has  had  access.  It  contains  a  large  number  of  erasures, 
annotations  and  corrections,  including  in  many  places  the  addi- 
tion of  valuable  facts  in  manuscript  notes.  On  the  margins  of 
these  books  are  found  a  large  number  of  entries,  as  follows: 
"Rewritten,"  "omitted,"  "revised,"  "see  manuscript  text,"  etc. 
In  each  case  the  carefully  prepared  manuscript  texts  are  pasted 
in  their  proper  places.  These  notes,  like  his  other  manuscripts, 
bear  no  evidence  of  haste  or  carelessness.  His  manuscripts  show 


212  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

that  he  intended  to  add  three  new  chapters  to  this  work  upon 
the  publication  of  a  second  edition.21 

The  first  volume  of  this  work  contains  a  history  of  the  Missis- 
sippi Valley  prior  to  the  acquisition  of  Louisiana  by  the  United 
States.  The  second  volume,  entitled  "The  United  States  in 
the  Valley  of  the  Mississippi,"  contains  the  first  comprehensive 
history  of  the  Mississippi  Valley  as  a  whole  during  this  period. 
The  style  of  the  author  is  simple  and  fascinating.  His  account 
of  frontier  life  is  full  of  interest.  One  of  the  most  commendable 
features  of  the  entire  work  is  the  large  number  of  references  to 
sources  and  authorities.  There  were  few  books  of  value  then 
available  upon  the  history  of  the  Mississippi  Valley  which  are  not 
referred  to  in  the  footnotes  of  these  volumes.  The  magnitude 
of  Dr.  Monette's  undertaking  and  the  financial  outlay  necessary 
to  its  execution  will  be  evident  to  anyone  who  will  reflect  that 
the  work  was  done  before  there  were  any  great  libraries  in  the 
Mississippi  Valley  and  before  there  was  any  system  of  inter- 
library  loan. 

The  estimate  placed  upon  this  work  at  the  time  of  its  publica- 
tion is  shown  by  the  following  extract  from  an  article  by  the  editor 
oiDeBow's  Review: 

"We  commend  the  volumes  of  Doctor  Monette's  *  *  *  to  the 
American  people  as  the  first  effort  to  furnish  a  complete  history  of  their 
great  western  domain  and  territory,  most  signally  successful,  and  the 
only  work  at  this  time  which  can  in  any  degree  satisfy  the  desire  of  infor- 
mation which  is  everywhere  felt."22 

The  same  writer  also  makes  the  following  reference  to  Monette's 
History : 

"This  able  work  deserves  many  editions  and  extensive  circulation  in 
our  country.  It  is  the  fruit  of  years  of  indefatigable  research  and  toil. 
In  its  arrangement  it  is  admirable;  in  its  matter  and  execution  nothing 
could  be  more  fruitful  and  reliable."23 

Dr.  Monette  did  not  live  to  finish  the  work  on  his  physical 
geography,  which  treatise  he  seemed  to  think  would  be  his  most 
important  contribution  to  knowledge.  Judging  from  his  man- 
uscripts, this  work  was  well-nigh  completed  at  the  time  of  his 

2 1  One  of  these  chapters,  entitled  "The  Progress  of  Navigation  and  Com- 
merce on  the  Mississippi  River  and  the  Great  Lakes,  A.  D.  1700-1846," 
will  be  found  in  the  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  Vol. 
VII,  pp.  479-523. 

12DeBow's  Review,  Vol.  IV,  p.  85. 

23 Ibid.,  p.  36,  footnote. 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       213 

death.  Anyone  who  reads  them  to-day  will  join  with  Professor 
Forshey  in  saying  that  Dr.  Monette  and  the  public  were  both 
losers  by  the  failure  to  publish  the  physical  geography.  Pro- 
fessor Forshey's  opinion  of  this  part  of  Dr.  Monette's  contribu- 
tions to  knowledge  is  expressed  as  follows : 

"The  scope  of  the  work  is  such  as  to  entitle  it  to  the  name  of  'Physical 
Geography"  in  its  fullest  sense.  The  height  of  mountains ;  the  elevation 
of  plains,  uplands  and  alluvians ;  the  force  of  torrents,  their  rate  of  fall 
and  quantity  of  discharge;  the  variations  of  climate,  its  humidity, 
healthfulness,  temperature,  and  general  local  meteorology;  the  natural 
productions  of  the  earth,  mineral  and  vegetable;  forest  trees,  shrubs, 
medicinal  plants  and  waters;  agriculture  and  its  variety  of  products, 
both  local  and  general,  and  the  mode  of  culture  of  the  several  great  staple 
productions;  the  native  inhabitants  of  the  Valley,  their  manners,  cus- 
toms, and  the  antiquity  that  marked  the  footsteps  of  the  earlier  races  of 
men;  the  animals  peculiar  to  each  portion  of  the  Valley,  and  the  effects 
of  civilization  upon  the  native  races  of  men  and  animals;  the  conquest, 
settlement  and  advance  of  states  to  their  present  condition  of  prosperity 
and  enlightenment;  these  and  analogous  subjects  are  treated  in  a  most 
elaborate  and  masterly  manner,  and  when  published  will  be  found,  we 
think,  from  personal  examination,  to  form  one  of  the  most  valuable  works 
ever  given  to  the  public  from  an  American  hand."24 

In  order  to  place  a  proper  estimate  on  this  work  it  must  be 
studied  in  the  light  of  the  time  at  which  it  was  written.  There 
was  then  no  book  which  gave  an  adequate  treatment  of  the  phys- 
ical geography  of  the  great  valley  of  the  Mississippi.  The  only 
works  that  professedly  treated  this  subject  were  those  by  Timothy 
Flint  and  William  Darby.  The  former  writer,  in  his  Geography 
of  the  Mississippi  Valley  and  in  his  Recollections  of  Twelve 
Years  in  the  Mississippi  Valley  gave  much  interesting  infor- 
mation concerning  the  country,  its  physical  character  and  the 
manners  and  customs  of  the  people,  but  his  statistics  and  facts 
were  detailed,  according  to  Dr.  Monette,  "with  such  careless 
inaccuracy  and  such  looseness  of  language  that  many  view  it 
more  as  a  kind  of  geographical  romance  than  as  a  great  work  on 
physical  geography.  Hence  the  valuable  matter  contained  in 
his  works  is  so  enveloped  in  a  mass  of  loose  verbiage,  with  so  little 
order  and  system,  that  they  can  never  be  standard  works  of 
reference."26  Darby's  View  of  the  United  States  treated  inci- 
dentally of  the  Mississippi  Valley,  and  his  Louisiana  as  well 
as  his  Universal  Gazeteer  also  contained  much  valuable  infor- 

2tDeBow's  Review,  Vol.  XI,  p.  93. 

2 'Doctor  Monette  published  an  elaborate  criticism  of  Flint's  Geography 
of  the  Mississippi  Valley  shortly  after  its  appearance  from  the  press. 


214  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

mation  on  this  subject,  but  the  matter  was  without  that  order 
of  arrangement  which  would  render  it  valuable  as  a  special  work 
on  the  Mississippi  Valley.  There  were  also  many  other  works  of 
less  note  which  contained  sketches  of  some  portions  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi Valley,  but  none  that  treated  of  the  whole  region  in  one 
great  work.  At  the  time  Dr.  Monette  was  engaged  on  this  work 
there  was  a  demand  for  an  elaborate  and  authentic  treatise  on 
the  geography  of  the  Mississippi  Valley,  and  he  intended  his 
books,  as  he  said,  to  be  "the  nucleus  for  such  an  undertaking, 
which  may  be  more  extended  and  enlarged  at  some  future  time." 

He  was  peculiarly  adapted  for  such  an  undertaking,  having 
lived  fifteen  years  in  the  Ohio  region  and  twenty  years  in  the 
lower  valley  of  the  Mississippi.  By  attentive  observation,  aided 
by  other  sources  of  information  within  his  reach,  he  had  collected, 
arranged  and  classified  during  this  time  much  useful  and  inter- 
esting information  relative  to  the  geography  of  that  important 
region. 

As  he  was  unable  to  find  any  treatise  on  the  subject  in  which 
the  matter  and  arrangement  were  such  as  to  meet  his  views,  the 
plan  of  his  work  was  new  and  original. 

The  following  extract  from  his  manuscript  preface  to  the 
Physical  Geography  will  give  the  reader  in  Dr.  Monette's  own 
language  the  raison  d'etre  of  this  work: 

"In  the  following  chapters  the  author  has  adopted  an  arrangement 
which  is  new,  and  which,  so  far  as  he  is  aware,  has  not  been  heretofore 
adopted.  The  division  of  the  subject  into  river  regions  is  one  which  gives 
the  reader  a  more  comprehensive  and  at  the  same  time  a  more  detailed 
narration  of  the  physical  character  of  any  particular  section  of  this  great 
valley. 

"The  physical  details  of  important  tributaries,  as  well  as  of  the  great 
parent  stream,  are  such  as  most  investigating  readers  desire  to  inquire 
into,  although  in  most  works  upon  this  subject  these  points  are  entirely 
overlooked  or  are  but  imperfectly  touched.  In  the  latest  works  no  cer- 
tain information  is  given  of  such  important  rivers  as  the  Washita,  the 
Tensas,  or  the  St.  Francis.  In  the  last  gazeteer  by  Smith  such  rivers  are 
barely  named. 

"Mr.  Darby,  the  indefatigable  western  geographer,  in  his  View  of  the 
United  States,  as  well  as  his  Universal  Gazeteer,  has  given  much  of  this  kind 
of  information  in  the  numerous  tables  which  he  has  prepared  and  arranged 
upon  this  subject ;  yet  in  his  general  description  of  rivers  he  is  often  vague 
and  indefinite.  Rivers  are  the  great  leading  outlines  of  different  regions 
and  constitute  an  indispensable  portion  of  the  physical  geography  of  any 
region.  The  sinuosities  and  reflexions  of  a  river  and  its  actual  length 
between  its  source  and  termination  greatly  modify  its  character  and  add 
greatly  to  its  advantages  for  a  dense  population,  hence  they  are  impor- 
tant features  and  should  receive  from  the  geographer  a  more  minute  and 
specific  detail. 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       215 

"This  seems  to  have  escaped  the  observation  of  Mr.  Darby.  He  seldom 
gives  any  definite  information  relative  to  the  actual  length  of  rivers,  and 
confines  this  part  of  his  narration  only  to  the  direct  distance  from  their 
source  to  their  termination.  This  he  calls  their  'comparative  course,' 
which  conveys  but  a  vague  idea  of  some  of  the  rivers  and  water-courses 
of  the  Southwest.  Some  of  these  in  many  places  are  known  to  meander 
in  great  circuitous  bends  from  ten  to  thirty  miles,  and  then  return  to  a 
point  within  one  or  two  miles  of  its  own  channel.  Hence  the  actual  length 
of  many  streams  is  equal  to  at  least  three  times  their  'comparative  course,' 
and  writers  describing  the  same  will  differ  almost  as  widely  as  the  poles 
unless  they  guard  against  such  discrepancies.  In  this  work  we  have  been 
careful  to  obtain  the  actual  length  of  water-courses,  following  all  the 
meanders  of  the  channel.  In  Mr.  Darby's  work,  as  well  as  in  that  of  Mr. 
Flint,  we  sometimes  have  apparent  errors  in  giving  the  towns  on  the  bank 
of  a  river  with  their  distance  from  another  town  and  not  by  the  river  chan- 
nel. Smith,  in  his  new  gazeteer  of  1844,  corrects  none  ot  the  early  errors 
in  the  lengths  of  rivers.  *  *  * 

"The  elevation  of  points  above  the  ocean  have  been  greatly  overlooked, 
and  in  most  cases  exceedingly  erroneous  statements  are  made  in  geograph- 
ical works',  if  indeed  they  have  deigned  to  note  this  fact.  Since,  however, 
civil  engineering  has  been  practically  applied  to  opening  canals  and  con- 
structing railroads,  certain  data  are  now  obtained  by  which  errors  may  be 
corrected.  On  these  points  the  works  of  Mr.  Darby  and  Mr.  Flint  have 
many  errors,  from  which  the  present  work  is  believed  to  be  free.  The 
estimate  of  elevation  of  low-water  mark  of  the  Mississippi  and  Ohio  Rivers 
at  various  points  has  been  made  after  much  research  and  labor,  and  will 
serve  as  valuable  data  for  ascertaining  the  elevation  of  other  points.  The 
lake  elevations  also  are  valuable  on  this  account,  and  correct  the  numer- 
ous discrepancies  of  most  geographers  on  this  subject.  The  discrepancies 
on  this  subject  in  most  of  our  works  *  *  *  too  often  occur  from  a 
careless  inaccuracy  scarcely  excusable  in  statistical  work  like  Bradford's 
comprehensive  atlas. 

"In  reference  to  the  physical  details  of  the  lower  valley  of  the  Missis- 
sippi, they  are  mostly  new  and  the  result  of  personal  observation.*  *  * 
The  author  has  had  many  opportunities  from  time  to  time  for  acquiring 
from  individuals  such  information  relative  to  many  points  treated  in  this 
work,  which  could  not  have  been  obtained  from  books  or  other  records, 
because  none  such  existed. 

"The  general  matter  upon  the  southern  portion  of  the  Mississippi  River 
is  therefore  new,  and  may  be  deemed  an  important  acquisition  to  our 
geographical  knowledge,  not  only  as  to  the  face  of  the  country,  but  as  to 
its  natural  productions  and  its  agricultural  resources,  climate,  etc. 


"Another  portion  of  physical  geography  which  we  flatter  ourselves  is 
altogether  new  is  the  'Climate  and  Seasons  of  the  Delta.'  This  is  a  sub- 
ject which  has  been  entirely  overlooked  by  writers  upon  special  geography. 
I  flatter  myself  that  on  this  subject  I  have  collected  and  arranged  facts 
which  will  be  interesting  and  acceptable  to  all. 

"In  the  indigenous  growth  I  have  given  full  and  detailed  descriptions 
of  such  plants  and  trees  as  were  not  fully  described  before.  In  this  way 
I  hope  I  have  added  something  to  the  general  store  of  knowledge.  As  to 
exotics  cultivated  in  the  South,  many  of  them  are  deeply  interesting  in 
their  nature  and  properties,  which  are  almost  unknown  at  the  North. 

"As  to  American  monuments  and  Indian  tribes,  they  will  soon  become 
extinct,  and  their  existence  and  their  nature  and  uses,  as  well  as  the  num- 
ber, names  and  habitations  of  the  tribes,  will  soon  be  only  known  by 


216  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

record       In  the  embalming  of  them  in  the  imperishable  records  of  history 
we  perpetuate  their  memory."26 

During  the  time  Dr.  Monette  was  engaged  on  the  preparation 
of  his  Physical  Geography  the  southern  portion  of  the  Valley  of 
the  Mississippi  was  attracting  thousands  of  settlers  from  the 
Atlantic  coast  and  was  receiving  the  attention  of  the  entire 
nation.  This  fact,  combined  with  others,  led  to  a  widespread 
inquiry  concerning  this  interesting  and  little  understood  region, 
and  doubtless  there  was  then  a  larger  proportion  of  American 
people  studying  the  geography  of  the  Mississippi  Valley  than 
ever  before.  The  rapid  development  of  the  lower  Mississippi  is 
referred  to  by  Dr.  Monette  in  his  introduction  as  follows: 

"Twenty-five  years  ago  it  was  believed  that  for  half  a  century  to  come 
the  great  Mississippi  was  destined  to  roll  on  to  the  sea  in  solitary  grandeur 
through  a  thousand  miles  of  deep,  unbroken  forest,  excepting  onh'  a  few 
points  which  were  deemed  habitable.  Less  than  a  quarter  of  a  century 
has  elapsed,  and  in  the  whole  distance  from  the  mouth  of  the  Ohio  down 
to  the  Balize  the  dense  forest  begins  rapidly  to  disappear;  cities  and  vil- 
lages, as  if  by  the  power  of  enchantment,  have  sprung  up  from  the  watery 
waste,  which  was  then  supposed  to  bound  the  river  on  either  side ;  agri- 
culture and  commerce  flourish:  wealth  and  independence  smile  upon  the 
labor  of  industry. 

******** 

"Even  the  alluvial  region  of  the  Tensas,  contiguous  to  the  oldest  settle- 
ments of  the  early  French  and  the  more  recent  Anglo-Saxon,  with  its 
numerous  navigable  bayous  and  fertile  alluvians,  was  unknown  as  hab- 
itable even  fifteen  years  ago,  and  much  of  it  was  still  considered  useless 
within  the  last  five  years. 

"Ten  years  ago  the  Yazoo  region  on  the  opposite  side,  extending  from 
the  last  Chickasaw  bluff  near  Memphis  to  the  Walnut  Hills,  a  distance  of 
more  than  400  miles  by  the  river,  was  considered  an  immense  inundated 
region,  useless  to  civilization  and  consigned  as  the  habitation  of  the 
native  tribes  or  as  the  haunts  of  amphibious  monsters  and  beasts  of  prey. 
It  was  the  forlorn  hope  of  the  State  of  Mississippi,  embracing  nearly  one- 
fourth  of  its  actual  surface  and  given  up  to  hopeless  inundation.  Now 
it  is  the  Egypt,  the  granary  of  that  rich  and  growing  State.  The  whole 
of  it  is  being  rapidly  settled,  and  already  one-fourth  of  the  cotton  crop 
of  that  State  proceeds  from  that  very  region.  A  few  more  years  will 
make  it  emphatically  the  great  corn  and  cotton  region  of  Mississippi. 
******** 

"The  vast  fertile  alluvions  of  Red  River  above  the  "raft"  have  been 
explored  only  within  a  few  years  past,  and  are  now  fast  becoming  the  seat 
of  a  dense  and  wealthy  agricultural  population.  Many  of  the  river 
courses  and  reservoir  bayoux,  which  had  been  discovered  manv  years 
since,  were  supposed  to  meander  their  solitary  courses  through  deep, 
gloomy  lowlands  and  impenetrable  swamps,  such  as  they  appeared  to 
the  early  French  voyagers  and  traders  130  years  before.  The  best  lands, 

2  fl  The  contents  of  Doctor  Monette's  Physical  Geography  of  the  Mississippi 
Valley,  as  prepared  by  him,  will  be  found  in  the  appendix  to  this  article 
(see  infra,  p.  220). 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette.— Riley.       217 

lying  chiefly  on  the  intervening  bayoux  and  lakes,  were  entirely  unknown 
and  were  supposed  to  be  deep  swamps  and  useless  wastes,  doomed  by 
nature  to  be  the  eternal  haunts  of  the  alligator,  the  bear,  the  panther,  and 
other  ferocious  beasts  of  prey. 

"The  exploring  enthusiasm  within  a  few  years  past  has  seized  the  pioneer 
settlers  of  the  Southwest  and  has  urged  them  to  a  restless  search  after  the 
bountiful  provision  made  for  them  by  the  hand  of  an  all-wise  providence. 
So  rapid  has  been  the  advance  of  these  discoveries  that  the  catalogue  of 
names  has  been  almost  exhausted  to  designate  the  newly  discovered 
bayoux  and  lakes  in  this  great  terra  incognita.  Upon  the  margins  of  all 
these  are  found  bodies  of  the  most  fertile  and  inexhaustible  alluvions, 
where  vegetation  almost  changes  its  ordinary  upland  characters. 

"It  has  been  said  that  Mr.  Jefferson  once  remarked  that  the  lower  val- 
ley of  the  Mississippi  had  been  settled  one  hundred  years  too  soon,  and 
that  its  forming  state  was  not  complete.  But  the  lapse  of  one  hundred 
years  from  the  purchase  by  Mr.  Jefferson  will  see  this  very  lower  valley 
the  abode  of  millions  of  enterprising  men  engaged  in  agriculture,  com- 
merce and  manufactures. 

"Such  was  the  state  of  information  relative  to  the  lower  valley  thirty 
years  ago  that  Major  Stoddart  declared  'from  the  settlements  of  Pointe 
Coupee  on  the  lower  Mississippi  to  Cape  Girardeau  above  the  mouth  of 
the  Ohio  there  is  no  land  on  the  west  side  which  is  not  overflowed  in  the 
spring  to  the  distance  of  eight  or  ten  leagues  from  the  river  with  from  two 
to  twelve  feet  of  water,  except  a  small  spot  near  New  Madrid,  so  that  in 
the  whole  extent  there  is  no  possibility  of  forming  any  considerable  set- 
tlement contiguous  to  the  river  on  that  side.' 

"At  this  time  (1842)  the  very  region  here  designated  embraces  one-half 
of  the  cotton  region  of  the  States  of  Louisiana  and  Arkansas  and  one- 
fourth  of  the  cotton  region  of  the  State  of  Mississippi,  together  producing 
annually  not  less  than  300,000  bales  of  cotton  for  export,  and  having  an 
active  population  of  at  least  200,000  souls  profitably  engaged  in  agricul- 
tural pursuits,  where  labor  is  rewarded  with  the  comforts  and  luxuries 
of  life  in  the  greatest  abundance,  and  where  the  prolific  soil  is  inex- 
haustible in  supplying  all  the  necessaries  for  domestic  consumption  and 
support." 

Dr.  Monette  also  wrote,  from  time  to  time,  anonymous  arti- 
cles, humorous  or  satirical.  Among  his  miscellaneous  writings 
may  be  mentioned  a  poem  of  250  lines  on  "Friendship."  It  was 
first  written  in  1823,  and,  to  use  the  language  of  the  author,  was 
"Inscribed  to  Hon.  A.  Covington,  the  humane,  the  generous, 
and  the  good."  It  was  rewritten  and  enlarged  for  the  Natchez 
Gazette  in  August,  1825.  Among  his  other  poetical  efforts  are 
an  "Ode  to  July  4th,  1820"  and  "A  Satirical  Poem."  Among 
his  anonymous  writings  is  a  number  of  articles  on  "Empiricism." 
These  were  directed  principally  against  the  pretensions  and 
practices  of  the  "steam  doctors,"  the  disciples  of  Samuel  Thomp- 
son, Samuel  Wilcox  and  Horton  Howard.27  Dr.  Monette  says 

27 A  very  interesting  account  of  this  system  of  medicine,  written  by  a 
gentleman  who  amassed  a  fortune  through  his  "steam  practice,"  is  found 
in  Vol.  VIII  of  the  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  pp. 
490-504. 


2i8  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

that  the  general  tenor  of  the  teachings  of  all  these  men  is  the 
same,  viz.,  "that  all  diseases  proceed  from  cold,  and  are  curable 
by  capsicum,  lobelia,  and  steaming.  The  following  extract  from 
these  essays  will  show  a  phase  of  Dr.  Monette's  literary  style  not 
found  elsewhere  in  this  sketch: 

"How  often  has  the  contemptible  ignoramus,  the  mechanic-laborer, 
without  study  or  without  talents  for  the  most  ordinary  occupation,  been 
raised  on  the  breath  of  popular  applause  to  the  level  of  learned  and  expe- 
rienced physicians.28  And  such,  although  addicted  to  base  falsehood 
and  mean  vituperation,  and  devoid  of  every  principle  of  honor  and  moral 
rectitude,  yet  find  means  to  pursue  their  destructive  course  and  escape 
the  punishment  their  crimes  so  justly  merit.  And  it  is  astonishing  to 
perceive  with  what  avidity  many  ignorant  and  credulous  persons  receive 
and  propagate  unfounded  rumor's  in  support  of  these  deceptive  wretches. 
It  is  among  their  characteristic  traits  to  blazon  forth  exaggerated  accounts 
of  the  most  trivial  diseases  and  unimportant  circumstances  in  their  favor 
as  evidence  of  skill  surpassing  that  of  regular  physicians  in  curing  invet- 
erate cases  which  had  baffled  the  skill  and  experience  of  the  whole  regular 
faculty.  But  if  people  die  in  their  hands  they  audaciously  assert  that 
they  were  called  in  too  late,  that  the  vital  energies  of  the  system  were 
destroyed  or  that,  through  the  monstrous  practice  of  the  physician  pre- 
viously in  attendance,  the  case  was  irremediable,  or  that  poison,  latent 
in  all  their  bones,  destroyed  the  patient  before  they  could  eradicate  it 
from  their  system." 

******** 

"The  knowledge  of  those  powerful  secret  vegetable  medicines  which 
possess  this  wonderful  property  of  expelling  poisons  from  the  system,  it 
is  affirmed,  are  known  only  to  those  highly  favored  geniuses  who  have 
been  initiated  into  the  mysteries  of  the  order.  Men  of  talent  and  medical 
men  cannot  acquire  this  knowledge,  although  they  are  conversant  with 
the  articles  every  day.  They  assert  that  in  buying  a  right,  or  in  receiving 
the  authority  to  use,  from  a  regular  agent,  the  secret  sign  is  given,  the 
countersign  and  the  grip  are  communicated,  and  the  happy  wight  is 
deluded  with  his  own  knowledge  and  consequence. 

"Endued  with  this  powerful  sagacity,  they  commence  their  peregrina- 
tions and  miracles.  With  this  intuition  or  communicated  sagacity  they 
detect  and  cure  fractures  and  dislocations  where  others  could  not  even 
discern  them.  They  detect  and  cure  cancers,  consumption,  hydropho- 
bia and  dropsies  where  men  of  common  minds  could  perceive  nothing 
more  than  a  simple  abrasion,  or  some  slight  disorder  from  colds,  which 
scarcely  demanded  recourse  to  medicine.  They  not  only  can  eradicate 

28The  following  humorous  extract  from  Baldwin's  Flush  Times  of  Ala- 
bama and  Mississippi  (p.  89)  will  give  the  reader  an  idea  of  the  evil  prac- 
tices which  obtained  in  the  country  in  the  "3o's: 

"Men  dropped  down  into  their  places  as  from  the  clouds.  Nobody 
knew  who  or  what  they  were,  except  as  they  claimed  or  as  a  surface  view 
of  their  characters  indicated.  Instead  of  taking  to  the  highway  and 
magnanimously  calling  upon  the  wayfarer  to  stand  and  deliver,  or  to  the 
fashionable  larceny  of  credit  without  prospect  or  design  of  paying,  some 
unscrupulous  horse-doctor  would  set  up  his  sign  as  'Physician  and  Sur- 
geon,' and  draw  his  lancet  on  you  or  fire  at  random  a  box  of  his  pills  into 
your  bowels,  with  a  vague  chance  of  hitting  some  disease  unknown  to 
him,  but  with  a  better  prospect  of  killing  the  patient,  whom  or  whose 
administrator  he  charged  some  ten  dollars  a  trial  for  his  marksmanship" 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       219 

these  terrific  diseases,  but  they  promise  to  restore  the  constitution  to  its 
youthful  vigor  and  health,  and  even  fortify  it  against  any  deleterious 
influence  except  old  age.  Even  old  age  itself  shall  make  but  few  and 
tardy  steps.  All  this  is  swallowed  with  avidity  by  the  weak,  the  cred- 
ulous and  the  ignorant.  They  shut  their  eyes  and  stop  their  ears  until 
the  sad  catastrophe  of  death  or  decrepitude  reveals  their  own  temerity. 


"Quackery  and  empiricism  in  every  age  has  been  essentially  the  same- 
A  quack  is  a  demagogue.  He  relies  for  success  upon  the  same  kind 
artifices  with  all  other  demagogues,  whether  political  or  otherwise.  He 
flatters  the  vanity,  caresses  the  weakness  and  strengthens  the  prejudices 
of  the  great  mass  of  people.  He  is  one  of  the  people;  he  lives  for  the  good 
of  the  people;  he  has  their  welfare  nearest  his  heart;  his  whole  object  is 
to  protect  them  from  the  tyrannv  of  science,  to  guard  them  from  placing 
confidence  in  learned  and  skillful  physicians,  who  have  devoted  their 
whole  time  and  talents  to  the  study  and  improvement  of  a  noble  profes- 
sion, and  are  not  of  the  people,  but  are  combined  against  the  people  to 
enslave  them  while  living  and  inherit  their  effects  when  dead.  Empir- 
icism has  always  been  the  same — a  compound  of  libels  upon  science  and 
virtue,  of  ignorance,  effrontery,  and  falsehood." 

Dr.  Monette  died  in  the  prime  of  his  life,  without  reaping  the 
full  fruits  of  his  years  of  unremitting  toil.  A  plain  slab  of  marble 
in  the  family  burying  ground  at  his  old  home,  "Sweet  Auburn," 
in  Washington,  Miss.,  bears  the  following  simple  inscription: 


SACRED 


TO    THE    MEMORY    OF 


JOHN     WESLEY     MONETTE,     M.  D. 


BORN    APRIL    5,     1803. 


DIED     MARCH     i,    1851. 


220  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

APPENDIX. 

CONTENTS  OF  THE  PHYSICAL  GEOGRAPHY. 

PREFACE. 

INTRODUCTION. — General  survey  of  the  regions  of  the  Mississippi  Val- 
ley.— Recent  explorations  of  the  valley. — Physical  resources.- — Advance 
of  population  and  agricultural  enterprise. — Extent,  limits,  area,  and  ca- 
pacity for  a  dense  population. — Resources  and  advantages  for  navigation, 
commerce,  manufactures,  and  naval  architecture. — Diversity  of  climate 
and  agricultural  zones. — Geological  observations  and  references  relative 
to  past  changes  in  the  surface  of  this  valley. — Rafinesque's  "Geological 
Annals  or  Revolutions  of  Nature:"  Six  periods — i,  Period  of  general 
inundation;  2,  Period  of  emersion  of  mountains;  3,  Period  of  emersion 
of  table-lands;  4,  Period  of  the  draining  of  the  limestone  sea;  5,  Period 
of  Noah's  flood ;  6,  Period  of  Peleg's  flood ;  the  earth  assumes  its  present 
form. — Illustrations  of  probable  subsequent  changes,  etc. 

BOOK  FIRST. 
PHYSICAL  CHARACTERS  OF  THE  MISSISSIPPI  RIVER  AND  VALLEY  GENERALLY. 

Chapter  i.  The  Mississippi  River  and  Principal  Tributaries. — Magni- 
tude and  importance  of  the  Mississippi. — Diversity  of  climates  through 
which  it  flows. — Its  source  in  Itasca  Lake. — Its  course  thence  to  Cass 
Lake;  thence  to  Lake  Winnepeck;  thence  to  the  confluence  of  Leech 
Lake  Fork;  thence  to  Falls  of  Peckagamau. — Its  gradual  increase  of 
volume  in  the  elevated  plateaux. — Tributaries  above  the  Falls  of  St. 
Anthony:  i,  Meadow  River;  2,  Swan  River;  3,  Sandy  Lake  River;  4, 
Pike  River;  5,  Pine  River;  6,  DesCorbeaux  River;  7,  Pine  Creek;  8,  Sack 
River;  9,  Leaf  River;  10,  Rum  River;  n,  Falls  of  St.  Anthony. — Trib- 
utaries below  the  Falls:  i ,  St.  Peters,  Lake  Pepin ;  2 ,  St.  Croix  and  sources ; 
3,  Santeau  or  Chippewa;  4,  Upper  Iowa;  5,  Black  River;  6,  Wisconsin 
River;  7,  Turkey  River,  river  scenery  from  St.  Peters  to  the  Wisconsin; 
8,  Salt  River;  9,  Illinois  River  and  tributaries;  10,  the  Missouri  River, 
or  great  western  branch,  its  magnitude  and  length,  character  of  the 
Mississippi  below  the  confluence  of  the  Missouri,  the  "American  Bottom;" 
ii,  the  Merrimac  River;  12,  the  Kaskaskia  River;  13,  the  Ohio  River, 
or  great  eastern  branch,  its  magnitude  and  length,  character  of  the  Missis- 
sippi below  the  confluence  of  the  Ohio;  14,  Obion  River;  15,  Hatchy 
River;  16,  Forked  Deer  River;  17,  Wolf  River;  18,  St.  Francis  River; 
19,  White  River;  20,  Arkansas  River,  its  magnitude  and  length;  21,  the 
Kazoo  River;  22,  Big  Black  or  Chittaloosa;  23,  Bayou  Pierre;  24,  Homo- 
chitto;  25,  Red  River,  its  magnitude  and  length,  character  of  the  Missis- 
sippi below  the  confluence  of  Red  River. — Scenery  on  the  lower  Missis- 
sippi.— Settlements. — "Cotton  Coast." — "Sugar  Coast." — Great  advance 
of  population  into  the  Delta  since  1810,  etc. 

28  pages. 

Chapter  2.  Estimates  of  the  Elevation  of  the  Sources  of  the  Mississippi 
and  the  Average  Descent  in  the  Channel. — Elevation  of  Itasca  Lake  accord- 
ing to  Mr.  Schoolcraft ;  his  estimate  not  entirely  correct. — Colonel  Long's 
estimate  of  elevation  at  mouth  of  the  St.  Peters. — Arguments  showing 
that  the  average  descent  is  not  five  or  six  inches  per  mile  below  the  Falls 
of  St.  Anthony. — Estimates  of  descent  of  channel  below  the  Falls  of  St. 
Anthony. — Rock  Island  Rapids. — Des  Moines  Rapids. — Descent  in  the 
channel  below  the  mouth  of  the  Missouri  to  the  Ohio. — Descent  in  chan- 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       221 

nel  for  first  600  miles  below  mouth  of  Ohio,  and  thence  to  the  Gulf  of 
Mexico.— Observations  during  the  extreme  low  water  of  1838. — Trans- 
parency of  waters  below  Baton  Rouge. — River  surface  at  Bayou  Manchae 
in  low  stage  but  little  above  tide  level. — Analysis  of  descent  tn  the  channel 
from  the  Balize  to  mouth  of  the  Missouri:  i.  To  New  Orleans;  2,  to  Don- 
aldsonville;  3,  to  Bayou  Manchae;  4,  to  Bayou  Sara;  5,  to  Fort  Adams; 
6,  to  Natchez;  7,  to  Grand  Gulf;  8,  to  Vicksburg;  9,  to  the  mouth  of 
the  Arkansas;  10,  to  Memphis;  n,  to  the  mouth  of  the  Ohio;  12,  to 
Grand  Tower;  13,  to  the  mouth  of  the  Missouri. 

Summary.  Table  of  elevations  and  distances  below  the  mouth  of  the 
Missouri. — Estimates  on  the  Upper  Mississippi  to  the  Falls  of  St.  Anthony: 
i,  To  Des  Moines  River;  2,  to  lower  Iowa  River;  3,  to  Rock  River;  4,  to 
Parkhurst;  5,  to  Wisconsin  River;  6,  to  Chippewa  River;  7,  to  St. 
Croix  River;  8,  to  St.  Peters  River;  9,  to  Falls  of  St.  Anthony.  Sum- 
mary :  Table  of  elevations  and  distances  from  the  Missouri  to  the  Falls. — 
Table  of  estimates  of  the  average  descent  of  channel  from  various  points 
to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico. — Estimates  above  the  Falls  of  St.  Anthony:  i, 
Descent  from  Itasca  Lake  to  Cass  Lake;  2,  thence  to  Winnepeck  Lake; 
3,  Falls  of  Peckagaman;  4,  Sandy  Lake  River;  5,  Pike  River;  6,  Pine 
River;  7,  Des  Corbeaux  River;  8,  Pine  Creek;  9,  Sack  River;  10,  to  Rum 
River;  n,  the  Falls  of  St.  Anthony.  Summary:  Table  of  the  descent 
and  distances  above  the  "Falls." — Total  descent  of  the  river  channel 
from  Itasca  Lake  to  the  Balize. — Mr.  Schookraft's  estimates  of  the  eleva- 
tion of  Itasca  Lake  examined. — General  remarks. — Great  enterprise  of  Mr. 
Schoolcraft. — His  error  in  estimating  Itasca  Lake  at  1,491  feet  above  tide. 
— Analysis  of  his  route  from  Lake  Superior  to  the  mouth  of  Sandy  Lake 
River. — Ocular  deductions  are  often  deceptive. — Analysis  of  ascent  in 
the  St.  Louis  River. — Mr.  Schoolcraft's  overestimate  deduced. — Examina- 
tion of  his  return  route  through  the  St.  Croix  and  Bois  Brule  to  Lake 
Superior. — Descent  in  Bois  Brule  erroneous. 

41  pages. 

Chapter  3.  Character  of  the  Rivers  and  Streams  in  the  Valley  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi; the  Currents  and  Descents  in  the  Channel. — General  remarks  rel- 
ative to  the  ultimate  sources  of  the  Mississippi. — Those  from  the  south 
and  east  of  the  Ohio  are  from  mountain  ranges ;  those  from  the  northwest 
are  from  flat,  marshy  and  elevated  plateaux.  The  upper  courses  of  the 
former  are  declivous  and  mountain  torrents;  the  latter  at  first  are  deep 
and  sluggish  in  their  currents.  The  tributaries  of  the  upper  Mississippi 
on  the  east  and  west  originate  in  flat,  marshy  uplands. — The  region  south 
of  the  lower  Missouri  is  mountainous  and  the  upper  courses  of  the  streams 
are  rapid. — The  lower  are  otherwise. — Character  of  the  rivers  and  water- 
courses in  Alabama,  Mississippi  and  Louisiana:  They  flow  with  small 
descent  of  channel  through  deep  strata  of  soft,  friable  loam  or  alluvion, 
destitute  of  rock,  except  near  their  sources  north  of  latitude  34°. — The 
descent  of  channel  in  large  rivers  is  generally  overrated. — Ocular  observa- 
tion leads  to  this  error. — Malte  Brun's  testimony,  the  Amazon  River. — 
A  very  small  descent  is  amply  sufficient  to  produce  a  current  in  deep  water. 
— Illustrated  by  a  ditch. — Experiment  further  illustrated  by  the  bayous 
of  Louisiana  and  other  streams.  Currents  are  often  reversed  in  the 
bayous. — A  current  moves  in  the  ratio  of  descent  and  volume  of  water 
multiplied  into  each  other. — Impetus  is  generated. — Example  of  several 
rivers:  The  Loire  in  France,  Green  River  of  Kentucky,  etc. — No  river  is 
navigable  for  steamboats  which  has  an  average  descent  of  ten  inches  per 
mile  for  100  miles.  Ripples,  bars,  and  slack-water  basins:  They  accumu- 
late the  average  descent  at  particular  points,  especially  in  a  country  of 
tertiary  formation.  The  Ohio  River  is  such. — Ripples,  sand-bars,  and 
falls  of  the  Ohio. — Rapids  in  other  streams,  when  practicable  and  when 
impracticable. — Des  Moines  Rapids. — Rock  Island  Rapids. — -Descent  in 


222  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

the  entire  length  of  the  St.  Lawrence  but  little  more  than  the  descent  in 
the  Mississippi  or  lower  Ohio. — Descent  in  the  Missouri  channel. — The 
estimates  of  the  actual  descent  at  any  falls  is  generally  overrated  when 
from  ocular  observation. — The  descent  and  distances  become  com- 
mingled and  deceive  the  eye  and  the  judgment. — The  velocity  of  water 
extends  far  beyond  the  actual  descent  of  a  rapid.  Low-water  is  the 
proper  time  to  make  ocular  estimates.  Streams  may  be  gentle  in  moun- 
tain defiles.  The  impetus  is  first  imparted  by  mountain  torrents.  The 
last  500  miles  of  the  Mississippi  has  a  very  moderate  descent  per  mile  in 
the  bottom  of  the  channel. — Facts  illustrative  of  this  principle:  i,  The 
"Yazoo  Pass;"  2,  the  St.  Francis  River;  3,  the  Tensas  River;  4,  large 
bayous;  5,  island  chutes;  6,  influence  of  floods  in  accelerating  the  cur- 
rent over  the  same  channel. 
31  pages. 

Chapter  4.  Floods  of  the  Mississippi. — Importance  of  the  interests 
involved  in  the  annual  floods. — Appearance  of  the  lower  Mississippi  in 
flood. — -Extent  of  its  great  floods. — They  are  produced  by  a  succession  of 
floods  from  all  the  great  tributaries. — The  order  of  succession  in  the  great 
tributary  floods:  i,  The  Ohio  floods;  2,  the  upper  Mississippi  floods;  3, 
the  Missouri  floods. — The  comparative  influence  of  each  in  filling  the 
lower  reservoir  channel. — The  duration  of  floods  in  each  great  tributary. — 
Synoptical  table  of  the  high  and  medium  rise  of  the  river  at  different 
points  below  the  mouth  of  the  Ohio. — The  rate  of  progress  in  a  rise ;  pro- 
gress of  a  fall. — Mr.  Darby's  error  respecting  the  movement  of  the  general 
mass  of  waters. — A  fall  is  retarded  by  the  return  of  afflux  waters  from  the 
low  swamps  and  lakes. — The  general  period  of  low  water. — The  gradual 
approach  of  floods  in  winter. — The  order  in  which  the  great  floods  advance 
to  fill  the  lower  channel. — Particular  Floods:  i,  The  flood  of  1782;  the 
flood  of  1797;  the  floods  of  1811  and  1815;  the  floods  of  1817  and  1823; 
the  flood  of  1828,  and  its  extraordinary  extent  and  continuance;  the 
floods  of  1832  and  1836. — Progress  of  advance  and  decline  of  the  latter. — 
Low-waterof  1837  and  1838. — -Flood  of  1840  in  detail;  its  gradual  advance 
and  decline  at  Natchez,  from  March  to  July,  inclusive. — Extent  of  flood 
of  1840  compared  with  others. — Effect  of  the  returning  swamp-waters 
from  the  great  Yazoo  region. — Flood  of  1841 ;  memoranda  of  its  rise  at 
Natchez. — -Memoranda  of  floods  at  Natchez  for  twenty-five  years,  i.  e., 
from  1817  to  1843. 

54  pages  Ms. 

BOOK  SECOND. 
THE  GREAT  RIVER  AND  LAKE  REGIONS. 

Chapter  5.  The  Upper  Mississippi  Region. — Extent  and  boundaries  of 
this  region. — Summit  level  of  the  east  and  western  portions. — General 
elevation  of  hills ;  of  bottoms ;  plains. — The  general  face  of  the  country 
below  the  Falls. — Steamboat  distances. — Prairies,  wooded  plains,  and 
hills. — Sterile  regions  or  barrens  above  the  Falls. — Climate  north  of  the 
Falls  and  climate  south  of  the  Falls. — Bottoms  of  the  upper  Mississippi 
south  of  the  Falls. — The  "American  Bottom." 

Tributaries  of  the  upper  Mississippi:  i,  St.  Peter's  River;  2,  St.  Croix 
River;  3,  Canoe  River;  4,  Chippewa  River;  5,  Upper  Iowa;  6,  the  Wis- 
consin and  its  resources;  7,  Turkey  River  and  the  country  south  of  it; 
8,  Great  Makenketa  Creek;  9,  the  Wabasapinacon  Creek;  10,  Rock 
River;  u,  Lower  Iowa  and  its  region;  12,  the  Des  Moines;  13,  Salt 
River;  14,  the  Illinois  River,  valley  of  the  Illinois,  its  river  regions, 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       223 

descent  of  channel,  river  distances;  15,  the  Maramee;  16,  the  Kaskaskia; 
17,  Muddy  River. 

Mineral  Resources. — Metals  in  abundance. — Inexhaustible  supplies  of 
lead,  copper,  iron,  coal. 

Climate  and  agricultural  productions. — Resources. — Seasons. 

36  pages. 

Chapter  6.  The  Great  Northwestern  Lakes  and  the  Lake  Regions. — The 
Great  Lakes. — Their  situation  and  extent. — Extent  of  country  drained  by 
them. — Their  tributary  streams.— The  lakes  individually  and  their  areas. 
— Areas  drained  by  each. — Their  bright  waters. — Elevation  of  the  adja- 
cent country.— Immense  depth  of  the  upper  lakes. — Evidences  of  geolog- 
ical revolutions. — Prolific  waters  of  the  lakes. — The  lake  margins. 

1,  Lake  Superior. — Situation  and  extent. — Elevation  of  surface  and  its 
depth. — Shores  on  the  south  side.— "Pictured  rocks." — The  shape  and 
circuit  of  Lake  Superior. — Terrible  storms. — Straits  of  St.  Mary. 

2,  Lake  Huron. — Its  situation  and  extent;  its  depth  and  shores. — Ele- 
vation of  the  adjacent  country. — Tributary  streams. 

3,  Lake  Michigan. — Its  situation  and  extent. — Green  Bay,  elevation, 
depth,  and  elevation  of  the  surrounding  country. — Its  shores,  and  the 
sand-hills  on  the  west. — Tributaries  of  Lake  Michigan:  i,  St.   Joseph's 
River;   2,  Kalamazoo  River;  3,  Grand  River;  4,  Maskegon;   5,  Monistic; 
6,  Milwaky ;  7,  Fox  River  of  Green  Bay  and  its  tributaries ;  8,  Menominic 
River. — Peninsula  of  Michigan. 

4,  Lake  St.  Clair. — Its  situation  and  extent. — Its  low  shores. — Its  chief 
supply  from  St.  Clair  River. — The  Thames  River  of  Canada. — Its  discharge 
is  by  Detroit  River. 

5,  Lake  Erie.— Its  situation  and  extent,  elevation  of  surface  and  depth. 
— Tributaries:  i,  Detroit  River;    2,  River  Raisin;    3,  Maramee;    4,  San- 
dusky;    5,  Cuyahoga. — Elevation  of  the  summit  plains  near  the  eastern 
extremity ;  of  those  near  the  western  extremity. — Abrupt  descent  of  the 
highlands  towards  the  lake. — Descending  terraces  to  the   lake. — Moun- 
tainous appearance  of  the  highlands  from  the  lake  shore. — The  lake  shores 
and    their   formation.— XJrand    River   basin. — Discharge   of    Lake    Erie 
through  the  Niagara  River. — The  cataract  of  Niagara. — Niagara  Rapids. 
— Flint's  description  of  the  cataract. 

5,  Lake  Ontario. — Its  situation  and  extent. — Elevation  of  its  surface 
and  its  depth. — Tributaries  of  Lake  Ontario:  i,  Trent  River;  2,  the  Gen- 
essee  River;  3,  Oswego  River,  lake  region  drained  by  the  Oswego;  4, 
Black  River. 

Tides  of  the  Lakes. — Errors  on  this  subject. — The  variations  of  the  lake 
surfaces  in  different  years  the  result  of  natural  causes. — These  are  exces- 
sive rains  or  snows,  continued  deficiency  of  rain  and  snow. — Illustration 
by  facts. 

Analysis  of  Lake  Elevations. — General  remarks. — Error  of  Mr.  Gallatin, 
of  Darby,  of  Schoolcraft,  of  Mitchell,  of  Bradford. — Line  elevation 
deduced  from  canal  survey  of  New  York  and  Welland  Canal  of  up^er 
Canada. — Ontario  is  232  feet  above  tide. — Erie  is  333  feet  above  Ontario. 
— Western  portions  of  surface  higher  than  the  eastern. — The  elevations  of 
other  lakes  deduced  from  known  facts:  i,  Lake  St.  Clair;  2,  Lake  Huron; 
3,  Lake  Michigan;  4,  Lake  Superior. — Discrepancies  of  authors  relative 
to  the  elevation  of  this  lake. — Summary  of  the  lakes  and  their  respective 
elevations. 

Analysis  of  the  descent  in  the  channel  of  the  St.  Lawrence  River:  i,  From 
the  ocean  to  Quebec;  2,  to  Lake  St.  Peter;  3,  to  Montreal;  4,  to  La 
Chine;  5,  to  St.  Regis;  7,  to  Ogdensburg;  8,  to  Kingston;  9,  to  Sackett's 
Harbor.— The  general  average  descent  in  the  whole  distance  does  not 
exceed  three-sixteenths  inches  per  mile. — Errors  of  authors  relative  to 
elevations  deduced  from  Lake  Erie  as  to  points  on  the  Ohio  and  upper 
Mississippi. 


224  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Chapter  7.  The  Ohio  Region. — Extent  of  this  region. — Its  central  res- 
ervoir channel. — The  valleys  and  bottoms  of  the  same. — Area  of  the  Ohio 
region. — The  channel  of  the  Ohio  excavated  by  water  400  feet  below  the 
general  level. — The  hills  and  bottoms. — General  elevation  of  the  adjacent 
uplands. — Sources  of  the  tributary  streams,  their  character  and  descent. — 
Contrast  between  the  eastern  and  western  tributaries  of  the  Ohio ;  pecu- 
liarities of  each. — The  eastern  slope,  from  the  Kenhawa  north  and  east  of 
the  Cumberland  Mountains;  from  the  Big  Guyandot  to  the  sources  of  the 
Tennessee;  region  west  of  the  Cumberland  Mountains,  from  Licking  River 
to  Cumberland  River. — General  face  of  the  country  in  western  Kentucky 
and  Tennessee. — The  northwestern  slope:  The  regions  of  the  States  of  Ohio, 
Indiana  and  Illinois. — The  summit  level  south  of  the  lakes  and  from  the 
Illinois  to  the  Allegheny  Rivers. — Theory  relative  to  the  former  condition 
of  the  Ohio  valley. — Face  of  the  country  southeast  of  the  Ohio,  from 
western  Pennsylvania  through  western  Virgina,  Kentucky,  and  Tennessee. 
— Northwest  side  of  the  Ohio  River. — The  eastern  part  of  the  State  of 
Ohio. — The  plains  extending  thence  to  the  Illinois  River. — Character  of 
the  streams  and  their  valleys. — Supposed  formation  from  submarine 
currents. — Rounded  or  water-worn  pebble  stones. — Geological  forma- 
tion of  the  valleys. — Forests  and  plains:  Natural  state  of  the  forest  on 
the  southeast  and  on  the  northwest  sides;  wooded  bottoms  and  hills; 
unwooded  plains. — Forest  trees:  Such  as  were  found  most  common  on 
the  east  side ;  on  the  west  side ;  on  the  first  advance  of  the  white  set- 
tlements; different  genera  enumerated. — Soil  and  agricultural  produc- 
tions: Fertile  and  sterile  lands  of  this  region ;  grains,  grasses,  and  staple 
products  adapted  to  this  region;  fruits,  culinary  vegetables,  cotton. — 
Mineral  resources:  Abundant  supply;  variety  and  extent — i,  Coal  and 
coal  region,  its  vast  extent;  2,  Salt,  saline  springs,  Kenhawa  salines, 
salines  of  Abingdon,  Va.,  of  the  State  of  Ohio,  of  Indiana,  and  of  Illinois; 
3,  Nitre;  4,  Gypsum  rock,  limestone,  marble,  millstone  rock. — Metals:  i, 
Iron;  2,  Copper. — Chalybeates  and  sulphurous  waters. — Materials  for  the 
manufacture  of  glass  and  porcelain. — Indigenous  wild  animals:  The  buf- 
falo, the  elk,  the  deer,  and  beasts  of  prey. 

33  pages  Ms. 

Chapter  8.  The  Ohio  River  and  Tributaries. — Ohio  River  formed  by 
confluence  of  the  Allegheny  and  Monongahela. — These  rivers,  respectively : 

1,  The  Allegheny,  its  sources  and  tributaries,  Olean  Creek,  Connewango, 
French  Creek,  Clarion  River,  Kiskaminites,  the  length  of  the  Allegheny ; 

2,  the  Monongahela,  its  sources  and  tributaries. — East  Fork  and  West 
Fork,  Cheat  River,  Youghiogheny. — The  valley  of  the  Monongahela;   of 
the  Youghioghena. 

The  Ohio  River:  Its  channel  and  current,  width  and  depth  in  different 
portions. — -The  "Narrows"  and  shoals  below. — The  current  from  Pitts- 
burg  to  Guyandot,  thence  to  the  mouth  of  Cumberland  River. — Descent 
in  the  channel. — Discrepant  estimates  and  overestimates. — Facts  and 
illustrations. — -Estimates  of  actual  descent  in  the  channel:  i,  From  Pitts- 
burg  to  Wheeling;  2,  thence  to  Guyandot;  3,  thence  to  Louisville,  bars 
and  ripples;  4,  thence  to  Portland;  5,  thence  to  mouth  of  Cumberland; 
6,  thence  to  mouth  of  the  Ohio. — Total  descent  and  average  descent  from 
Pittsburg  to  mouth  of  Ohio. — Length  of  the  Ohio,  1,000  miles;  various 
estimates. — Summary  of  elevations  of  low-water  mark  at  various  points. — 
Erroneous  estimates  of  Darby  and  others. — Floods  and  freshets  of  the 
Ohio,  their  character  and  extent. — Floods  of  rapid  tributaries  and  their 
duration. — The  great  freshet  of  1832,  its  extraordinary  height  and  dura- 
tion; synopsis  of  its  advance  and  height  at  different  points. — Destruction 
of  property  and  farms. — The  flood  of  1836. 

Tributaries  of  the  Ohio:  i,  Big  Beaver,  and  other  smaller  streams;  2, 
the  Muskingum;  3,  the  Little  Kenhawa;  4,  Hockocking  River;  5,  Great 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       2*5 

Kenhawa,  its  character  and  tributaries,  its  upper  and  lower  valleys,  ele- 
vation of  its  sources;  6,  Raccoon  Creek;  7,  Guyandot  River;  8,  Big 
Sandy;  9,  Little  Sandy;  10,  Scioto  River,  Scioto  region  and  tributaries, 
descent  in  the  channel;  n,  Brush  Creek;  12,  Little  Miami;  13,  Licking 
River;  14,  Great  Miami,  Miami  region  and  tributaries,  descent  of  channel; 
15,  Kentucky  River,  its  character,  length  and  channel;  16,  Green  River, 
its  character  and  tributaries;  17,  Salt  River;  18,  Wabash  River,  Wabash 
region,  the  channel  and  length  of  the  Wabash  River,  tributaries  of  the 
Wabash,  Salamanie,  Mississinnewa,  Eel  River,  Tippecanoe,  Vermillion, 
Sugar  Creek,  Embarrass,  White  River;  19,  Cumberland  River,  its  extent 
and  sources,  its  tributaries;  20,  the  Tennessee  River,  its  extent,  its  char- 
acter, and  impediments  in  the  channel,  the  Tennessee  Valley,  upper  trib- 
utaries, the  Holston  and  its  branches,  the  Clinch  and  its  branches. 

Chapter  9.  The  Missouri  Region. — Extent  and  boundaries  of  the  Mis- 
souri region. — Elevation  of  the  region  drained  by  the  Missouri  River. — 
General  elevation. — Black  Hills;  Oregon  Mountains  west  of  them. — Char- 
acter of  the  general  surface. — Region  divided  by  Missouri  River  into  two 
unequal  portions. — Area  of  eastern  portion;  of  western  portion. — Face  of 
country  and  soil  eastern  and  western  portions. — Plains  in  the  southwest. — 
Great  American  Desert. — Aboriginal  inhabitants  and  animals. — Mineral 
resources:  Coal,  gypsum,  porcelain,  clay,  iron  ore,  lead,  and  other  metals, 
paints,  earths,  marble,  salines,  salt,  salt  mountain,  volcanic  products. — 
Natural  forest  growth  and  vegetable  products  of  southeastern  portion. — 
Climate:  Air  peculiarly  dry  and  elastic,  well  adapted  to  production  of 
culinary  vegetables  and  fruits. — Agricultural  products  in  southeastern 
portion  and  in  northern  portion. 

Missouri  River. — Largest  tributary  of  the  Mississippi;  its  impetuous 
character;  its  general  course ;  its  interval  bottoms  or  valley ;  its  principal 
sources. — Romantic  mountain  scenery  of  upper  Missouri.— -Gates  of  the 
Rocky  Mountains. — Character  and  course  from  source  to  Great  Falls; 
several  pitches  of  Great  Falls;  thence  to  mouth  of  Yellowstone;  thence 
to  mouth  of  Running  Water;  thence  to  mouth  of  the  Platte;  thence  to 
the  Kansas ;  thence  to  the  Mississippi. — Facilities  of  navigation. — Descent 
in  channel,  estimated  from  source  to  its  mouth. — Elevation  of  river  sur- 
face at  different  points. — The  shifting  channel  of  the  Missouri. — Colour  of 
its  waters. — Period  of  its  floods,  from  lower  tributaries;  from,  upper 
tributaries. — Character  of  interval  and  bottom  lands. — Adjacent  up- 
lands.— Large  tributaries  of  the  Missouri:  i,  Yellowstone,  its  character 
and  tributaries,  smaller  tributaries  above  the  Platte,  viz.,  White 
Earth,  Little  Missouri,  Cannonball,  Sawarcama,  Chienne,  Leton,  White 
River,  Running  Water,  Jaques,  Sioux ;  2,  Platte  and  its  branches. — Sources 
of  the  Platte;  its  channel  below  junction  of  the  North  and  South  Fork. — 
Descent  of  channel. — Length  of  river. — Tributaries  of  Platte:  i,  South 
Fork  or  Nebraska,  its  length,  channel,  descent  of  channel,  elevation  of 
country  at  Fort  St.  Vrain;  2,  North  Fork,  its  sources  and  length,  its  gen- 
eral course  and  character,  its  tributaries,  descent  of  channel,  elevation  of 
country  upon  its  waters. — Sweetwater  River  and  valley. — "South  Pass," 
its  elevation. — The  "Devil's  Gate. "--"Rock  Independence." — Appear- 
ance of  South  Pass. — Tributaries  of  North  Fork:  i,  Laramie's  Fork. — 
The  Platte  regions. — Route  to  Oregon  country  traveled  by  emigrants. — 
The  general  character  and  elevation. — Upland  prairies. — Short  tributaries. 
— Vegetable  products. — Geological  formation. — Climate. — Region  of 
storms.  3,  The  Kansas  River,  its  sources,  its  great  forks  or  branches; 
Republican  Fork,  Solomons  Fork,  Grand  Saline,  Smokey  Fork. — Entire 
length  of  Kansas.-— Grand  River,  tributary  of  Missouri;  Chariton.  4, 
Qsage  River;  principal  sources,  length,  advantages  for  navigation ;  its 


226  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

tributaries,  Grand  Fork,  Grand  River,  Pomme  de  terre. — General  remarks 
on  the  Missouri  tributaries.  5,  Gasconade  River,  its  sources,  length,  and 
navigable  extent. — Missouri  proceeds  to  its  confluence. 

Chapter  10.  The  White  River  and  St.  Francis  Region. — Situation  and 
extent  of  this  region. — The  eastern  or  St.  Francis  division. — The  western 
or  White  River  division. — The  unrivaled  water  communications  pre- 
sented. 

Face  of  the  country:  i,  In  the  White  River  region;  its  lower  portion; 
its  upper  portion;  Schoolcraft's  description.  2,  The  St.  Francis  region; 
its  northern  portion  of  highlands ;  the  lowland  region  of  bayous  and  inun- 
dated swamps;  "sunken  lands." — Agricultural  resources  and  congenial 
products. 

Seasons  and  climate:  Climate  mild  in  winter,  pleasant  in  summer. — 
Forest  growth. 

White  River  and  tributaries. — Its  head  streams  and  its  lower  channel, 
branches  and  tributaries;  its  width  and  length. — Extent  of  navigable 
channel. — Country  adjacent  to  the  main  river. — Descent  in  the  channel. — 
Tributaries:  i ,  Big  Black  River,  its  sources  and  branches,  Current  River, 
Eleven-point  River,  Spring  River;  2,  Little  Red  River  and  its  course; 
3,  Cache  River. 

St.  Francis  River  and  tributaries. — Sources  and  head  branches. — Its 
channel  through  the  lowlands. — Its  length. — Facilities  for  navigation  and 
commerce. — -White  Water  Creek,  its  sources,  its  length,  and  navigable 
facilities. — B  ayous. 

Chapter  n.  The  Arkansas  Region. — This  region  comparatively  un- 
known.— Its  extent  and  limits. — Upper  and  lower  valley. — Surface  of 
the  lower  valley;  lowlands;  uplands. — Limestone  strata  and  formation 
above  Little  Rock. — Uplands  east  of  Little  Rock. — Uplands  west  and 
south  of  Little  Rock. — General  geological  features ;  Dr.  Powell's  geological 
exposition. — Sandy  upland  plains  and  prairies  west  of  Canadian  River. — 
The  general  inclined  plane. 

Face  of  country:  Diversified  by  hills  and  valleys. — The  Ozark  Moun- 
tains.— The  hilly  region  near  the  Cordilleras. — Mountain  peaks ;  James 
Peak;  Spanish  Peak. — Sterile,  sandy  prairies  or  American  desert;  its 
character  and  drouths. — Ozark  and  Washita  Hills. 

Soil. — Lowlands ;  lower  valley ;  width ;  elevation. — Fertile  soil  on  the 
small  tributaries  west  of  the  State  of  Arkansas. — Character  of  the  alluvial 
soil;  of  uplands. 

Climate  and  agricultural  resources. — Grains  and  grasses;  culinary  veg- 
etables and  fruits. — Storms  and  heavy  rains  common  in  the  country  west 
of  Little  Rock. — General  elevation  of  lower  valley;  of  upper  valley;  of 
lowlands;  of  uplands. — The  Black  Hills  of  Little  Red  River.— Forest 
growth ;  upland  growth ;  lowland  growth ;  cane. 

Mineral  resources. — Minerals,  salines,  rock  formation,  saline  impreg- 
nations of  rivers;  the  "salt  plain;"  "salt  rock"  of  the  remote  west. 

The  Arkansas  River  and  principal  tributaries. — Sources  of  the  Arkan- 
sas.— Its  course  through  the  American  Desert. — Its  character  above  the 
Little  Arkansas. — Changes  below  the  Negraka  or  Red  Fork;  thence  to 
Grand  Saline,  the  Saline,  Strong  Saline;  thence  to  the  Verdigris,  Nesho 
or  Grand  River,  Canadian  River,  three  forks  of  Canadian,  the  Poteau; 
thence  to  the  mouth. — Other  small  tributaries. — Character  of  the  banks 
and  lower  channel. — Upper  channel,  entire  length,  extent  of  navigation. — 
Descent  in  the  channel. — Principal  obstructions  to  steam  boat  navigation. — 
Webber's  Falls. — Average  descent  of  channel  compared  with  the  Ohio. — 
The  spring  floods,  sudden,  short,  and  irregular. — June  flood,  volume  of 
water  discharged ;  its  color. 

26  pages. 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       227 

Chapter  12.  The  Washita  Region.—  Situation,  extent,  and  boundaries. 
Face  of  the  country. — The  northern  half,  from  east  to  west. — Regions  on 
the  sources  of  the  Bayou  Mason;  Bceuf  River,  Bayou  Barthelemy,  and 
Saline  River. — Regions  west  of  upper  Washita  on  Little  Missouri;  Fourch 
or  Caddo,  and  upon  the  Darbone. — The  alluvial  lowlands  on  upper  Wash- 
ita; same  below  "overflow;"  same  near  Monroe;  same  south  of  Monroe ; 
those  below  mouth  of  Tensas  upon  Black  River. — Black  River  coast. 

Soil  and  formation.—  Alluvial  composition  and  substrata. — Colour. — 
Former  changes;  Darby's  views. — The  beautiful  upland  plains  of  upper 
and  lower  Washita. 

The  Washita  River. — Its  extreme  sources  and  course  through  the  sand- 
hills.— Upper  branches  from  the  Washita  Hills. — Its  tributaries  below 
the  Hot  Springs:  i,  Hot  Spring  Branch;  2,  Caddo  Fork;  3,  Little  Mis- 
souri; 4,  the  Saline  River;  5,  the  Barthelemy;  6,  Bayou  Saluter;  7, 
Darbone  River;  8,  Lachenier;  o,  Bceuf  River;  10,  Tensas  River;  n,  Lit- 
tle River;  12,  Black  River. — Entire  length  of  the  Washita;  navigable 
extent ;  depth  of  channel  in  different  stages  of  water. — Its  general  width 
from  Monroe  to  its  mouth. 

Floods  of  the  Washita. — Its  mountain  freshets  fill  the  lower  channel. — 
Spring  rains. — Supplies  from  the  Mississippi. — Beauty  of  the  Washita  in 
flood. — Slack  water  from  Mississippi  and  Red  River. — Flood  of  1828;  its 
extent  and  duration. — Flood  of  1836;  its  extent  and  duration. — Floods 
of  1840  and  1844. — Average  descent  in  the  channel  remarkably  small. — 
Descent  in  the  water  surface  when  the  slack  water  from  the  Mississippi 
occurs. 

Tributaries  of  the  Washita:  i,  Little  Missouri;  2,  Saline  River;  3, 
Bayou  Barthelemy,  Bayou  Bonidee,  Bayou  Fourche;  4,  Bayou  Siard; 
5,  Darbone  River;  6,  Lachenier;  7,  Bceuf  River,  Deer  Creek,  Bayou 
Louis,  Lake  Louis;  8,  Tensas  River,  Bayou  Mason;  9,  Little  River,  its 
tributaries,  Catahoola  Lake,  Bayou  Bushley,  Saline  Bayou. 

Agricultural  resources. — Natural  advantages  of  soil  and  climate. — 
Southern  portion  or  cotton  region ;  northern  or  grain  region. 

Forest  growths. — Peculiar  beauty  of  natural  growths. — Varieties  and 
species  enumerated. 

Mineral  resources. — Salines. — Minerals. — Geological  formation  of  the 
Hot  Spring  region. — Dr.  Powell's  exposition  of  the  Hot  Spring  and  Mag- 
net Cove  regions. — General  elevation. 

40  pages. 

Chapter  13.  The  Red  River  Region. — This  is  a  most  important  region. — 
Extent. — Boundaries. — General  character  of  the  upland  formation. — Face 
of  country  on  the  north  and  south  side  of  Red  River  below  the  northern 
limit  of  Louisiana;  same  in  that  portion  west  of  the  State  of  Arkansas. — 
The  lowland  valley;  situation,  extent,  boundaries,  swamps,  etc;  bayous 
and  bayou  lands. — Upper  bayou  region ;  parallel  channels  above  Natch- 
itoches; Rigolet  de  Bondein,  and  intersecting  bayous. — Lower  bayou 
region  south  of  Natchitoches. — Elevation  of  the  general  surface ;  uplands ; 
lowlands;  Oppelousas  prairies. — Soil,  climate  and  agricultural  products: 
Character  of  the  alluvial  soil. — Red  River  and  tributaries:  Its  great 
length;  its  source;  its  width  and  course  to  the  "great  raft;"  thence 
through  the  raft. — Description  of  the  raft  region. — Obstructions  to  steam- 
boat navigation. — Course  from  the  raft  to  Natchitoches. — Duplicate 
channels. — Width. — Entire  length  is  1,880  miles. — Depth. — Descent  of 
channel  for  last  500  miles;  also  for  500  miles  next  above. — Falls  or  rapids 
at  Alexandria. — -Slack  water  of  Mississippi  floods  extends  up  300  miles. — 
Floods  of  Red  River,  annual  and  periodical;  spring  floods,  extent  and 
height  of  same;  summer  floods. — Narrow  bottoms  above  the  mouth  of 
North  Little  River.— The  lakes  of  Red  River  from  the  head  of  the  "raft" 


228  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

down  to  Alexandria;  character  and  extent;  manner  of  formation;  situa- 
tion in  the  lower  valleys  of  tributary  streams;  connecting  or  outlet 
bayous;  replenished  by  river  floods;  surface  rises  with  river  floods  and 
falls  with  river  floods;  prairie  margins  of  these  lakes;  prolific  in  fish; 
these  lakes  navigable  to  steamboats;  other  lakes  abound  south  and  east 
of  Alexandria;  also  others  above  the  "raft." — Lakes  enumerated:  i, 
Lake  Bodcan;  2,  Lake  Bisteneau;  3,  Black  Lake;  4,  Saline  Lake;  5, 
Lake  Noir;  6,  Spanish  Lake;  7,  Caddo  Lake;  8,  Soda  Lake;  9,  Ferry 
Lake,  etc. 

Bayous  of  Red  River:  i,  Bayou  Darbone;  2,  Bayou  Pierre;  3,  Bayou 
Rapides;  4,  Bayou  Robert;  5,  Bayou  Lamourie;  6,  Bayou  Dulac;  7, 
Bayou  Bceuf;  8,  Bayou  Crocodile;  9,  Cortableau  River;  10,  Bayou 
Leche,  bayous  near  mouth  of  Red  River;  n,  Bayou  Saline;  12,  Brushy 
Bayou;  13,  Bayou  Rouge;  14,  Bayou  Avoyelles;  15,  Bayou  Deglaize; 
16,  Bayou  Petit  Prairie. 

38  pages. 

Chapter  14.  The  Yazoo  Region. — Situation  and  extent. — Area.-;— Char- 
acter of  the  country. — -Extent  and  boundaries  of  the  lowland  region;  of 
the  upland  region. — Elevation  of  the  table-lands. — Character  of  the  Tal- 
lahatchy  and  transverse  bayous. — The  Yazoo  River  and  its  intersecting 
bayous. — -Principal  reservoir  bayous. — Lakes. — Old  river  channels. 

Agricultural  resources. — -These  are  peculiar  and  great. 

Rivers  and  bayous:  i,  The  Yazoo  River;  its  sources;  its  length,  width, 
and  general  character;  navigable  facilities;  2,  the  Tallahatchy;  its 
extent  and  character;  its  tributaries;  descent  in  the  channel;  general 
character  of  these  streams,  width,  depth,  descent  of  channel,  sluggish  cur- 
rents; 3,  Coldwater;  4,  Yalobusha;  5,  Tchula  or  Little  River. — Reser- 
voir bayous:  i,  Bogue  Phalia;  2,  Deer  Creek;  3,  Steeles  Bayou;  4,  Big 
Sunflower;  5,  Little  Sunflower;  6,  False  River;  7,  the  "Yazoo  Pass."- 
Proportion  of  inundated  lands  and  of  reclaimable  lands. — Adaptation  of 
this  region  as  a  cotton  and  grain  country. — Extraordinary  facilities  for 
navigation. — Forest  growth.  —Mineral  resources. 

15  pages. 

Chapter  15.  The  West  Florida  Region. — Extent  and  situation. — 
Southern  half  of  State  of  Mississippi. — Fertility  of  the  western  portion. — 
Streams  watering  this  region ;  streams  watering  the  southern  portion. — 
Soil  and  face  of  country:  The  western  broken  and  fertile. — Forest  growth. 
— Character  of  soil  and  formation  of  this  region. — This  region  first  occu- 
pied by  Europeans. — General  elevation:  Hills,  flats  and  alluvial  bottoms; 
bluff  near  Walnut  Hills ;  bluff  at  Natchez ;  hills  on  St.  Catharine ;  Coles 
Creek;  eastward  to  Pearl  River ;  near  Fort  Adams ;  Bayou  Sara;  Baton 
Rouge;  eastward  upon  the  headwaters  of  Amite  River,  and  south  near 
lakes. — -Forest  growth  of  the  Amite  region. — Face  of  country  and  forest 
growth  east  of  Pearl  River ;  eastward  upon  Pascagoula  and  Tombigby.— 
Geological  formation:  Absence  of  rock  near  the  Mississippi ;  specimen  of 
rock  and  marble  discovered  on  Bayou  Pierre;  Wells  Creek  east  of  Vicks- 
burg;  on  Coles  Creek. — Nature  of  soil,  loam,  sand  strata,  gravel  strata  in 
hills ;  Franklin  Springs,  sand  emitted. — Agricultural  products:  Cottonregion ; 
sugar  region ;  rice ;  indigo  ;  fruit  trees ;  melons ;  roots. — Water  courses: 
i,  Big  Black,  character  of  stream,  its  length,  its  source  and  course  to 
Rockport,  to  Valena,  to  Baety's  Bluff,  to  Amsterdam,  to  its  mouth;  face 
of  country;  forest  growth;  length  of  navigable  water  course;  period  of 
boating  stage;  forest  growth  near  mouth;  cotton  crop  of  this  region 
(pp.  7,  8) ;  elevation  of  source,  of  alluvion  and  uplands  near  its  mouth;  2, 
Bayou  Pierre,  its  sources,  branches  and  length;  face  of  country  upon  its 
waters;  forest  growth  (p.  10);  3,  Coles  Creek,  its  length  and  character; 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       229 

face  of  country ;  soil;  Fairchilds  Creek ;  4,  St.  Catharine  Creek,  its  sources 
and  length ;  face  of  surface ;  fertility  of  soil ;  early  settlements ;  elevation 
of  surface;  present  settlements;  indigenous  forest  growth;  5,  Homo- 
chitto  River,  its  importance;  country  watered  by  it;  its  sources,  course 
and  principal  forks;  Wells  Creek,  Sandy  Creek,  Second  Creek;  soil  and 
face  of  country;  early  settlements;  present  population  (p.  12);  forest 
growth  of  eastern  branches ;  alluvial  lands  near  its  mouth ;  navigation  of 
lower  Homochitto ;  inundation  of  bottoms ;  entire  length ;  6,  Buffalo 
Creek,  its  sources,  course  and  length;  its  impetuosity  in  floods;  soil;  early 
settlements;  7,  Bayou  Sara,  its  source,  course,  length,  soil  and  early  set- 
tlements; its  mouth  is  a  harbor  and  shipping  point  (p.  15);  8,  Thomp- 
sons Creek,  its  source  and  course;  country  watered  by  it;  9,  Amite  River, 
its  source,  its  course  and  tributaries ;  its  entire  length ;  country  watered ; 
length;  the  Comite  River;  10,  Tickfaw,  its  course  and  region  drained; 
ti,  Tanghipahoa,  its  source  and  course;  12,  Chefunete,  its  sources  and 
course;  13,  Pearl  River,  its  sources  and  course;  branches  and  tributaries, 
Yellowbulcha,  Tuscalameta,  Yockunhany ;  its  course  thence  to  its  mouth. 
— Face  of  country;  soil. — Length  of  Pearl  River;  its  width;  its  floods; 
bottoms  and  uplands ;  current  of  stream ;  descent  in  channel ;  face  of 
country  and  soil  drained  by  Pearl  River. — Forest  growth. — Its  tributaries, 
Strong  River,  Bogue  Chitto,  Bolo  Chitto  (p.  24).  14,  Qourdan's  River, 
its  extent,  tributaries,  and  its  course;  15,  Wolf  River,  its  sources;  its 
course;  region  drained  by  it;  soil  and  face  of  country;  Bay  of  St.  Louis; 

1 6,  Biluxi  River,  its  branches  and  course;  Tchula  Cabawfa;   Biluxi  Bay; 

17,  Pascagoula  River,  its  importance  and  extent;   branches;  character  of 
channel  below  confluence;    entire  length.     Branches:  i,  Leaf  River,   its 
sources,  its  course  and  tributaries  (p.  28)  to  confluence  of  Chickasawhey ; 
length  of  Leaf  River;    2,  Chickasaw  Bay,  sources,  course  and  tributaries; 
entire  course. — Country  watered  by  Pascagoula  and  tributaries. — Eleva- 
tion.— Clear  and  limpid  waters  of  the  Pascagoula. — Rich  bottoms  occur. 

Chapter  16.  The  Mobile  Region. — Situation,  extent  and  area. — The 
main  channel  or  Mobile  trunk;  its  length;  descent  of  channel ;  its  floods 
and  general  character;  entire  length  by  either  of  its  great  branches. 

Elevation  and  face  of  country. — The  northeast  portion  rugged  and  moun- 
tainous.— Deep  valleys,  through  which  the  rivers  flow. — Elevation  of  the 
bounding  highlands  and  mountain  ranges. — The  northwestern  portion. — 
The  southern  half. — Face  of  country  and  elevation. — -Elevated  region  on 
the  sources  of  the  Tombigby. — Prairie  region  on  the  west  and  south. — 
Pine  regions  upon  its  lower  course. 

Soil — Region  of  the  Tombigby;  Black  Warrior. — Region  of  the  Ala- 
bama; Cahaba. — Rolling  uplands  and  pine  forests. 

Forest  growth,  in  the  northern  highlands ;  in  southern  uplands ;  bottoms 
or  lowlands ;  on  the  seaboard. 

Mineral  resources. — Metals,  salines,  sulphurous  and  chalybeate  waters; 
ock  formation. 

Agricultural  products. — In  northern  portion,  grains,  grasses,  tobacco, 
etc.;  in  south  portion,  cotton,  sugar  cane,  oranges. 

The  Delta  of  Mobile. — Its  length,  breadth,  character,  limits. — Tribu- 
taries of  the  Mobile  River:  i,  Tombigby,  its  sources,  length  and  branches; 
floods ;  facility  for  navigation ;  area  drained  by  the  Tombigby  and  Black 
Warrior  and  their  branches;  difference  between  the  region  of  the  Tom- 
bigby and  Alabama.  2,  The  Alabama  River,  its  two  branches,  the  Coosa 
and  Tallapoosa;  its  length  and  course;  its  floods;  its  alluvions.  Tribu- 
taries of  the  Alabama:  Small  tributaries  on  the  north  and  south;  the 
Cahaba  River,  its  extent,  its  lands. 

The  Coosa  River. — Its  sources  and  principal  branches,  the  Etowah  and 
Connesauga;  its  general  course  to  its  mouth;  its  length. — "Wetumpka 


230  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Falls." — General  appearance  of  Coosa  above  the  falls. — Region  drained 
by  it. — The  Tallapoosa  or  east  branch,  its  sources,  course,  length  and 
tributaries. 

BOOK  THIRD. 
THE  DELTA  OF  THE  MISSISSIPPI. 

Chapter  17.  General  Survey;  Speculative  Views  of  the  former  Condition 
and  Probable  Changes  in  the  Delta. — General  survey  of  the  Atlantic  coast 
from  East  Florida  and  around  the  northern  shore  of  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  to 
the  Rio  Grande. — Features  and  character  of  the  Delta  of  the  Mississippi; 
its  extent ;  boundaries ;  elevation  of  the  contiguous  uplands  on  the  east 
and  on  the  west  and  northwards  to  the  limestone  rock  formation  above 
the  mouth  of  the  Ohio  River. — Tracing  the  upland  margin  on  the  east 
side  up  to  the  Ohio. — Formation  and  character  of  these  uplands. — Upland 
margin  on  the  west  side  from  Cape  Girardeau  to  the  uplands  south  of 
Red  River. — Character  and  formation  of  these  uplands. — Direct  distances 
through  the  Delta  to  the  Balize. — The  distance  traversed  by  the  circui- 
tous channel  of  the  Mississippi. — Points  at  which  the  river  touches  the 
base  of  the  bluff  uplands,  on  the  east  side  between  the  mouth  of  the  Ohio 
and  Bayou  Iberville. — Same  only  once  on  the  west  side. — The  intervening 
lowlands  or  delta  considered  as  a  level  inclined  plane. — Elevation  of  the 
upper  or  northern  extremity. — Average  descent  in  river  channel  per  mile 
for  whole  distance. — Possible  changes  which  may  have  been  effected  in 
this  lowland  region  in  the  lapse  of  ages. — Possibly  once  an  arm  of  the  sea, 
which  may  have  been  gradually  filled  up. — Many  physical  changes  caused 
by  the  river  are  indubitable. — Liability  to  river  inundation. — High  allu- 
vions above  inundation. — They  constitute  splendid  agricultural  settle- 
ments, which  may  be  rendered  more  secure  by  levees. — Vast  bodies  of 
inundated  lands  may  be  reclaimed. — Speculations  relative  to  the  former 
condition  and  changes  at  different  epochs. — Changes  near  the  mouth  of 
the  Ohio ;  near  the  mouths  of  White  River  and  the  Arkansas ;  near  the 
mouth  of  the  Washita  and  of  Red  River,  and  up  the  valley  of  Red  River ; 
on  the  Atchafalaya  and  Teche. — Further  recession  of  the  ocean  and  con- 
sequent fluviatile  changes.  These  changes  are  corroborated  by  analogy, 
by  known  changes  in  other  portions  of  the  globe. — Some  of  these  known 
changes  enumerated:  i,  In  Europe;  2,  Asia;  3,  Africa;  by  the  action  of 
rivers  and  by  the  sea;  by  earthquakes  and  submarine  volcanoes;  illus- 
trated by  an  Arabian  allegory. — Gradual  rise  of  North  America  equal  to 
the  rise  of  Sweden  above  the  Baltic? — On  this  principle  what  may  have 
been  the  state  of  the  maratime  portion  of  Louisiana  in  several  centuries? — 
Prospective  rank  of  the  lower  valley  in  point  of  agriculture,  population, 
commerce,  arts,  navigation  and  wealth. 

26  pages  Ms. 

Chapter  18.  Physical  Characters  of  the  Lower  Mississippi  River. — The 
peculiarity  of  this  portion  of  the  river. — General  aspect  when  in  flood. — 
Appearance  in  low  stage. — High,  abrupt  banks. — The  Mississippi  com- 
pared to  the  Nile  of  Egypt ;  the  latter  more  like  Red  River  or  the  Missouri ; 
depth  compared;  width  compared;  volume  of  water  compared.  In  all 
these  the  Mississippi  excels;  also  in  the  duration  of  its  floods  and  the 
extent  of  lands  inundated. — Turbid  quality  of  the  water  of  the  Mississippi ; 
yet  it  is  the  best  drinking  water  when  settled. — Depth  of  the  Mississippi 
below  the  Ohio. — Current  in  high  and  in  low  stages;  in  medium  stage. — 
Strongest  current  ceteris  paribus  in  first  600  miles  below  the  Ohio. — Cur- 
rent affected  by  rising  and  falling  stage. — Width  of  the  main  thread  of 
the  current. — Width  of  the  channel  and  width  of  river  surface  at  different 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       231 

stages. — Depth  at  different  points  of  the  upper  and  lower  river. — Sedi- 
mentous  matters  in  suspension. — Degree  of  turbidness  at  different  points 
and  stages. — Errors  in  estimating  amount  of  sediment  in  the  Missis- 
sippi.— The  actual  amount  of  sediment  as  an  average  does  not  exceed  one 
part  in  420  parts  of  water;  same  in  the  Ganges. — ^Experiments. — Bends, 
their  gradual  advance. — Bends  and  points  alternate. — Caving  bends. — 
Sand-oars,  extent,  elevation. — Absence  of  gravel. — Snags. — Sawyers. — 
Planters. — Driftwood. — Island  chutes  and  cut-offs. — Efflux  bayous  and 
outlets  in  great  bends;  "Yazoo  Pass,"  Atchafalaya,  Iberville,  Plaque- 
menes,  Lafourche,  and  other  smaller  outlets. — Last  600  miles  of  the  river 
never  frozen  or  obstructed  by  ice. — Tide  in  the  mouth  of  the  Mississippi 
up  to  New  Orleans. 
28  pages  Ms. 

Chapter  19.  Physical  Changes  and  Alluvial  Formations  in  the  Delta. — 
Mr.  Darby's  error  relative  to  the  change  of  channel  in  the  Mississippi. — 
The  river  is  constantly  effecting  gradual  changes  in  its  channel  and  in 
the  adjacent  alluvions. — Assumption  that  the  Delta  has  been  covered  by 
tide.— The  gradual  formation  of  the  ancient  or  firm  alluvion  first;  next 
the  more  recent. — Supposed  gradual  extension  and  changes  of  the  chan- 
nel; also  in  the  lower  Arkansas  and  lower  Red  River;  the  Yazoo  River. — 
These  facts  are  admitted  by  Mr.  Darby. — Known  changes  continually 
being  effected  in  the  channel. — Islands  removed ;  others  formed. — Chan- 
nels deserted  and  closed,  leaving  their  remains  in  form  of  bayous.- — The 
great  depth  of  the  alluvial  formation  in  the  Delta. — River  deposits  during 
floods. — Amount  of  sediment  in  the  water. — Amount  of  earthy  matters 
carried  to  the  sea  annually. — Extent  of  shoals  formed  beyond  the  passes 
of  the  Mississippi  mouths. — Amount  of  driftwood  embedded  there. — 
Gradual  advance  of  the  Delta  into  the  sea;  ratio  is  about  one  mile  in 
ten  or  twelve  years. — The  Delta  has  reached  vast  depth  of  the  Gulf, 
beyond  which  it  is  almost  unfathomable — Balize  Island — hence  the 
advance  is  more  slow  now  than  formerly. — Gradual  increase  of  elevation 
in  low  grounds  near  the  mouth. — Islands  removed  and  formed. — Changes 
of  surface  effected  by  earthquakes;  those  of  1811  and  1812  near  New 
Madrid.— Effects  produced  on  the  upper  Delta  for  nearly  100  miles  north 
and  south. — Evidences  of  ancient  salses. — This  whole  region  yet  liable  to 
these  awful  changes. — Sensible  effects  in  the  lower  Delta  by  the  earth- 
quake in  St.  Domingo  on  the  yth  of  February,  1842. — Tumultuary  agi- 
tation of  waters  south  of  latitude  31°. 

Soil  and  face  of  the  lowlands.— -General  remarks. — Evidences  of  river 
formations. — Raised  alluvial  lands. — Amount  of  high  alluvions  com- 
pared with  low  swamp. — Swamp  lands  divisible  into  (i)  arable  swamp, 
(2)  sandy  high  swamp,  (3)  low  wet  cypress  swamp — cypress  knees,  their 
character — (4)  low  stiff  swamp  or  terre  graisse. — Character  and  extent  of 
alluvions  in  the  lower  Delta. 

38  pages  Ms. 

Chapter  20.  Old-river  Lakes. — Peculiar,  uniform  and  curved  shape. — 
Are  certainly  deserted  portions  of  the  former  river  channel. — Connecting 
bayous. — Graded  banks. — Width;  depth;  swamp  outlets. — Surface  of 
lakes  rise  and  fall  with  the  river  floods. — They  abound  in  fish  and  water- 
fowl.— Their  shoal  extremities. — The  manner  in  which  these  lakes  become 
detached. — Cut-off  bend,  how  detached;  extremities  closed. — Fine  arable 
borders  around  these  lakes. — Enchanting  residences. — Splendid  planta- 
tions.— Distinguished  by  distinctive  names. — Individual  lakes:  i.Fausse 
Riviere;  2,  Red  River  Lake;  3,  Homochitto  Lake;  4,  Lake  Concordia; 
5,  Lake  St.  John;  6,  Lake  Bruin;  7,  Lake  St.  Joseph;  8,  Yazoo  Lake; 
9,  Lake  Providence;  10,  Bunch's  Lake;  n,  Grand  Lake;  12,  Old  River 


232  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Lake;     13,  Lake   Washington;     14,  Lake  Jackson;     15,  Lake   Lafayette; 
16,  Lake  Bolivar;    17,  Lake  Concord;    18,  Moon  Lake;    19,  Flour  Lake; 
20,  Beaver  Dam  Lake;    21,  Lost  River  Lake;    22,  Horn  Lake;   23,  Need- 
ham's  Lake;  smaller  ones  not  named. 
22  pages  Ms. 

Chapter  21.  Bayous  and  Bayou  Regions. — Origin  and  meaning  of  the 
term  bayou. — Character  of  watercourses  to  which  it  is  applied. — They 
abound  in  the  Delta. — Extent  and  dimensions  of  bayous  generally. — - 
Alluvial  margins  raised  along  their  banks;  called  cane  lands. — Bayous 
serve  as  fine  natural  canals. — How  formed  by  the  river  floods. — Soil  upon 
their  margins. — Bayou  lands  comprise  the  most  valuable  lands  for  cotton 
and  sugar. — Their  appearance  when  in  a  high  state  of  improvement. — 
Width. — Depth. — Facilities  for  boating,  especially  when  replenished  by 
the  river  floods. — Reservoir  bayous. — intersecting  bayous  or  feeders. — 
The  six  great  bayou  regions: 

1,  The  Tensas  region. — Source  and  course  of  the  Tensas. — Its  length, 
depth  and  width. — Extent  of  the  Tensas  region. — Its  numerous   trans- 
verse bayous. — Great  advantages  to  be  derived  from  levees. — This  whole 
region,  from  Lake  Providence  to  Black  River,  is  being  filled  with  thou- 
sands of  emigrants  from  the  State  of  Mississippi. — Bayou  Mason  forms 
an  important  portion  of  this  region. — Its  origin  and  course. — Susceptible 
of  steamboat  navigation. — Lies  near  the  margin  of  the  western  uplands. — 
Its  intersecting  or  transverse  bayous. — Transverse  bayous  of  the   Tensas 
region:   i,  Willow  Bayou;    2,  Walnut  Bayou;    3,  Roundaway  Bayou;     4, 
Bayou  Vidal;  5,  Bayou  Derossit;  6,  Clarke's  Bayou;   7,  Choctaw  Bayou! 
8,  Van   Buren   Bayou;    9,  Greene's   Bayou;     10,  Bayou   L'Argent;     u, 
Bullett's  Bayou;    12,  Bayou  Crocodile. 

2,  Atchafalaya  region. — Extent,  origin  and  course  of  the  Atchafalaya 
Bayou. — Rafts  or  obstructions  in  the  channel. — Narrow  alluvial  borders. 
— Liability  to   inundation. — Much  of  its  lands  reclaimable  by  levees. — 
Origin  of  the  name. — -Transverse  bayous:   i,  Bayou  Latinache;    2,  Bayou 
Ferdoche;     3,  Bayou   Grostete;     4,  Bayou   Maringouin;     5,  Bayou   Ala- 
bama;  6,  Grand  River;   many  smaller  bayous  and  lakes. 

3,  The  Lafourche  region: — Origin  and  course  of  the  Lafourche  Bayou. — 
Its  length,  depth  and  width. — The  French  coast  on  the  upper  eighty 
miles  of  its  shores. — The  character  of  the  lands  and  soil. — But  few  inter- 
secting bayous. 

4,  The   Terrebonne  region. — Extent  and  situation  of  this  region. — Its 
climate  adapted  to  the  cultivation  of  sugar  and  cotton. — These  bayous 
formed  by  remains  of  former  mouths  of  the  Mississippi. — Now  are  nearly 
beyond  river  inundation. — Its  elevation  but  little  above  tide  level.- — Tide 
water  for  many  miles  up  the  bayous. — Individual  bayous:  i,  Bayou  Blue; 
2,  Bayou  Terrebonne;    3,  Bayou  Petit  Caillou;    4,  Bayou  Grand  Caillou ; 
5,  Bayou  Delarge;    6,  Bayou  Black. — Sea  vessels  and  steamboats  may 
ascend  them  many  miles. — The  raised  alluvial  borders  and  low  swamps 
in  the  rear. — Quaking  prairies,  description  and  formation  of  these  quaking 
prairies. — Salubrious  climate. — Longevity  of  the  Creoles. — Water  plants, 
Jussiena  grandiflora. — Forest  growth  on  these  bayous. — Live  oak,  etc. 

32  pages  Ms. 

Chapter  22.  Levees  for  Reclaiming  the  Lowlands. — The  Mississippi  is 
peculiarly  adapted  for  protection  of  its  lowlands  by  levees. — Its  slow  and 
gradual  rise  in  floods. — Never  sudden  in  its  rises  like  the  Ohio  and  other 
upland  streams. — Principal  inundation  is  from  backwater,  which  escapes 
before  the  banks  are  inundated. — Probable  amount  of  inundated  lands  in 
the  Delta  is  equal  to  25,000  square  miles,  or  16,000,000  acres. — Average 
depth  of  inundation. — Erroneous  estimate  by  a  committee  of  Congress.- — 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       233 

Description  of  common  levees  or  running  embankments. — Embankments 
across  outlet  bayous  or  sluices. — Effects  produced  in  securing  the  coast 
above  New  Orleans. — The  same  chain  of  levees,  with  partial  interruption, 
extend  from  Plaquemenes  420  miles  to  Point  Chicot. — Total  river  coast 
leveed  on  both  sides  is  nearly  1,200  miles. — Local  levees  may  be  advan- 
tageous above  the  Arkansas. — River  deposits  on  bank  outside  of  the  levee 
forms  a  very  strong  dyke  in  time. — General  location  of  common  levees. — 
Name,  origin  and  use. — Extent  of  levees  in  1810. — They  are  gradually 
extending  every  year  as  the  settlements  advance,  and  will  be  greatly 
extended  within  the  present  age. — In  all  levee  districts  the  road  runs  par- 
allel and  are  sodded  with  Bermuda  grass.  The  rising  of  the  backwater 
over  the  arable  grounds  more  dreaded  than  overflow  in  front. — This  to 
be  averted  by  closing  the  deep  outlet  sluices. — These  might  be  provided 
with  suitable  locks  for  boats  and  the  passage  of  water  to  or  from  the  river. 
— The  fallacy  of  attempting  to  reduce  the  river  to  a  straight  course. 
Fallacy  of  the  idea  that  levees  cause  the  channel  of  the  river  to  rise  and 
ultimately  accelerate  inundation. — The  reverse  is  true. — Effects  of  levees 
in  reclaiming  the  Tensas  region;  illustrated  by  the  flood  of  1836  and  of 
1840. — Breaking  of  levees  in  1840. — Principal  large  outlets  closed  since 
1836,  viz.:  Providence  Bayou,  Willow  Bayou  outlets,  Bruins  Bayou, 
Bayou  L'Argent,  Bullet's  Bayou. — The  effects  on  the  Tensas  region. 
28  pages  Ms. 

BOOK  FOURTH. 
CLIMATE  AND  VEGETABLE  PRODUCTIONS  OF  THE  DELTA  AND  SOUTHWEST. 

Chapter  23.  Climate  of  the  Lower  Valley  and  of  the  Southwest.— Gen- 
eral outline  of  climate  south  of  latitude  34°. — Compared  with  that  in  the 
region  of  the  Falls  of  St.  Anthony  and  the  northern  lakes. — The  change 
from  the  climate  of  New  Orleans  to  that  of  the  upper  Mississippi  is  grad- 
ual and  progressive  with  the  latitude. — Each  degree  produces  a  retarda- 
Ition  of  spring  equal  to  one  week. — The  climate  of  the  Mississippi  Valley, 
agreeably  to  Mr.  Darby,  is  not  so  warm  as  the  Atlantic  coast  in  the  same 
atitude. — Severest  cold  known  in  the  lower  Delta. — The  face  of  the  coun- 
try and  mountains  modify  the  climate. — The  lower  valley  is  partially 
protected  from  the  northern  winds  from  the  great  lakes. — The  Mississippi 
ever  frozen  south  of  the  Arkansas  River,  nor  is  ice  seen  upon  its  surface 
outh  of  Vicksburg,  except  in  the  winter  of  i  768. — Northern  limit  for  the 
fig  tree;  sugar  cane. — Medium  temperature  of  winters  in  latitude  of 
Natchez. — Temperature  of  summer  from  Natchez  to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico 
and  in  Florida. — Period  of  the  first  opening  of  spring  from  New  Orleans 
successively  at  more  Northern  points  to  Pittsburg. — Same  difference  pre- 
sents in  the  tardy  advance  of  winter. — Illustrated  by  a  steamboat  voyage 
from  Pittsburg  to  New  Orleans. — Length  of  the  growing  season  at  Natchez. 
— Periods  of  greatest  summer  heat. — Spring  rains. — Droughts. — Thunder- 
gusts  and  hailstorms. — Equinoxial  gales. — Forest  foliage  retained  until 
December. — Winter  rains. — -Sleets  sufficient  to  break  down  forest  trees. — 
Sensible  moisture  in  the  atmosphere. — Mean  annual  amount  of  rain. — 
The  common  idea  of  wet  seasons  not  a  criterion  for  the  amount  of  water 
which  falls  in  any  given  time. — The  severest  drought  was  in  1841  in  the 
lower  valley  and  in  1838  in  the  Ohio  region. — Effect  of  the  climate  on 
health. — Exposure  to  sun  and  dews. — Deadened  timber. — Yellow  fever. 
30  pages  Ms. 

Chapter  24.  Meteorological  Observations  and  Seasons  in  the  Delta  and 
Southwest. — Thermometers  protected  from  solar  heat  indicate  only  the 
coolest  atmosphere  temperature  instead  of  the  actual  temperature  to 


234  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

which  all  are  exposed. — Same  occurs  with  rain-gauge;  the  humidity  of 
any  season  is  not  indicated  by  the  amount  of  water  which  falls  in  any 
month,  but  the  time  during  which  it  is  falling. — Three  inches  of  rain  falling 
slowly  revives  vegetable  life  more  than  twice  that  amount  suddenly  dis- 
charged.— Tables  of  rain:  Governor  Sargent's  for  ten  years,  and  others. — 
Amount  of  annual  rain  in  the  latitude  39°-4o°  compared  with  lower  val- 
ley.— Temperature  of  lower  valley  much  higher  as  an  annual  mean  than 
in  upper  valley,  yet  not  so  high  as  an  annual  mean  as  in  the  same  latitude 
on  the  Atlantic  coast. — Tables  of  temperature:  Governor  Sargent's  table 
for  ten  years  at  Natchez  (mean,  monthly  and  annual) ;  table  of  George 
Davis;  of  Doctor  Lesley  and  others. — Regular  advance  of  vegetation 
indicates  the  comparative  mean  temperature  of  spring. — Observations  on 
the  unfolding  of  leaves  and  flowers  and  the  maturing  of  fruits  for  five 
years:  i,  Advance  of  vegetation  in  the  spring  and  summer  of  1838;  2, 
advance  of  vegetation  in  the  spring  and  summer  of  1839;  3,  advance  of 
vegetation  in  the  spring  and  summer  of  1840;  4,  advance  of  vegetation  in 
the  spring  and  summer  of  1841;  5,  advance  of  vegetation  in  the  spring 
and  summer  of  1842. — Storms  and  equinoctial  gales. — Tornadoes. — The 
principal  storms  on  record  in  the  lower  valley  since  the  first  settlement  of 
Louisiana  are  those  of  1723,  of  1745,  of  1762,  of  1772,  of  1782,  of  1794, 
of  1840. — An  account  of  the  tornado  of  May  7,  1840,  which  demolished 
Natchez. — Its  approach  and  awful  commotion  of  elements. — Destruction 
of  life  and  property. 

Chapter  25.  Indigenous  Forest  Growth;  §  Upland  growth;  §  Lowland 
growth. — Peculiar  dense  and  verdant  foliage  of  the  lower  valley,  especially 
in  the  fertile  hills  and  bottoms. — The  design  here  is  to  describe  some  for- 
est growths  which  are  uncommon  in  other  regions. — Catalogue  of  forest 
trees  of  South. — Special  description  of  upland  growths,  rich  uplands: 

1,  Bay  tree,  magnolia  grandiflora,  its  habitation,  appearance,  description, 
foliage,  flowers,  fructification,  and  dimensions  of  the  tree;   2,  Wild  peach, 
lamea  mundi  habitation,  qualities,  description,  and  uses;   3,  poplar,  lyrio- 
dendron  tuliptfera,  habitation,  dimensions,  etc. ;    4,  black  walnut,  juglans 
nigra,  habitation,  dimensions;    5,  mulberry,  morus  nigra,  habitation;    6, 
chinq^l•apin,  fagus  pumila,  description  and  dimensions;    7,  honey  locust, 
gleditschia  triacanthos,  dimensions ;    8,  hickory  carya,  vel  juglans,  descrip- 
tion; 9,  sweet  gum,  liquidambar  styraciflua;   10,  sassafras,  laurus  sassafras, 
dimensions ;   1 1 ,  wild  cherry,  prunus  virginiana;   12,  papaw,  asimina  triloba, 
dimensions;     13,  holly,  ilex  opaca,   habitation,   description,  size,  foliage, 
inflorescence  and  fructification;    14,  persimon,  diospyros  virginiana,  hab- 
itation, size  in  the  alluvial  lands ;   15,  buckeye,  cesculus  pavia,  uncommon  in 
the  lower  valley;    16,  bow  wood,  Madura  aurantica,  description,  size,  hab- 
itation, fruit,  and  texture  of  the  wood  ;   17,  toothache  tree,  xanthoxylon  clava 
Herculis,   habitation,   description,   pungent  bark   and   berries;     18,  black 
gum,  nvssa  sylvatica',    19,  cucumber  tree.      Thin  uplands:   i,  Oaks,  quercus, 
dimensions  of  red  oak;   2,  dogwood,  cornus  florida,  description,  dimensions, 
universal  prevalence;    3,  redbud,  cercis  canadensis;    4,  crab  apple,  Pyrus 

' coronaria,  habitation,  fragrance  of  its  flowers;  5,  hawthorn,  dimensions; 
6,  sumach,  rhus  glabra,  dimensions;  7,  elder,  sambucus  nigra,  dimen- 
sions ;  8,  beech,  fagus  ferruginea;  9,  pine  tree,  pinus,  habitation,  dimensions, 
swamp  pines;  10,  flowering  locust,  robinia  pseudacacia,  habitation,  dimen- 
sions, flowers;  ii,  elms,  ulmus;  12,  live  oak,  quercus  virens;  13,  umbrella 
tree,  magnolia  macrophylla,  habitation,  description,  dimensions,  foliage, 
flowers,  inflorescence,  fruit,  woody  texture  of  the  trunk;  14,  cabbage 
palm,  chamerops  palmetto,  habitation,  description;  black  jack  oak. 

§  2.  Lowland  growth;  general  remarks.  Dry  swamp  and  alluvions:  i, 
sweet  gum,  liquidambar  styraciflua,  universal  adaptation,  description,  size; 

2,  pecan,  juglans  olivaformis,  its  character,  two  species  and  many  varieties, 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley,       235 

analogous  to  the  northern  hickory,  except  in  regard  to  the  shell-bark 
pecans,  which  are  bitter;  3,  sycamore,  platanus  occidentalis,  its  universal 
habits,  its  dimensions  and  general  appearance ;  4,  cottonwood,  populus 
deltoides,  habitation,  its  dimensions,  rapid  growth  and  durability  of  the 
wood;  5,  oaks,  quercus,  different  varieties  of  the  common;  6,  live  oak, 
habitation,  dimensions  of  its  spreading  branches,  dimensions  of  the  trunk, 
uses;  7,  honey  locust,  gleditschia  pseudacacia.  Low  wet  swamp:  i, 
Cypress,  cupressus  disticha,  habitation,  description,  dimensions,  resem- 
blance to  the  juniper  or  pine,  limbs  more  lofty  and  branching;  leaves 
deciduous;  texture  of  the  wood  similar  to  pine;  cypress  springs  from 
seeds  like  other  trees,  not  from  cypress  knees ;  description  of  cypress  knees, 
an  excrescence  from  roots  of  cypress  trees;  2,  black  willow,  salix  nigra; 

3,  persimon,  diospyros  virginiana,  soil  and  habitation,  dimensions,  fruit; 

4,  ash,  fraxinus,  habitation  and  dimensions;   5,  water  maple,  acer  negundo, 
habits,  dimensions;    6,  elms,  ulmus  aquatica,  habits,  dimensions,  master 
roots;    7,  water  oaks  quercus  aquatica;    8,  hackberry;    9,  swamp  hawthorn, 
appearance  and  dimensions,  flowers;  10,  swamp  dogwood,  cornus  aquatica', 
appearance,  flowers ;    1 1 ,  box  elder. 

Chapter  26.  Undergrowth,  Vines  and  Parasites. — i,  Cane,  arundo 
gigantea,  habits,  indicative  of  fertile  soil  and  dry  lands,  dimensions  on 
different  kinds  of  soil  and  climates;  description,  an  evergreen,  luxuriant 
pasturage,  growing  season;  cane-brakes;  inflorescence,  fructification  and 
seed;  age  at  which  cane  seeds  and  dies  unknown;  large  and  small  cane 
are  only  varieties  produced  by  soil  and  other  contingencies ;  burning  of 
a  deadened  cane-brake  resembles  a  military  engagement  with  musquetry ; 
2,  myrtle  bush,  myrica  cerafera,  habitation,  berries  and  wax;  3,  sourcroui 
bush.  Vines:  i,  Muscadine,  vitis  veruccosa,  habitation,  description,  the 
fruit  or  grape;  2,  suplejack,  description;  3,  trumpet  flower,  bignonia  'radi- 
cans;  4,  morning  glory,  convolvulus  purpurea,  habitation,  prevalence  in 
the  South;  5,  passion  flower,  passiflora,  character  and  habits,  flower, 
fruit,  inflorescence,  etc.;  yellow  jassamine.. — Parasitic  plants:  i,  mistle- 
toe, viscum  verticillata,  abounds  in  the  southern  portions  of  the  lower  val- 
ley, an  evergreen,  berries;  2,  Spanish  moss,  tillandsia  usneoides,  descrip- 
tion of  the  whole  plant,  habitation ;  is  altogether  an  aerial  plant,  having 
no  vital  attachment  to  the  tree;  microscopic  appearance  of  the  green 
fibre;  flowering  season;  flowers,  fructification,  seed,  with  their  egrets 
and  pappus ;  time  of  germination  and  growth ;  the  long  tresses  are  formed 
by  several  older  plants  tangled  and  convoluted ;  strong  central  black  fibre, 
like  knotted  horsehair ;  uses. — §  2 ,  Lowland  undergrowth  and  vines:  i ,  Cane', 
arundo  gigantiea,  described  fully  under  upland  undergrowth,  its  dimen- 
sions and  character  in  the  low  grounds;  switch-cane;  2,  palmetto,  dwarf 
palmetto,  a  southern  plant ;  habits,  description  and  dimensions ;  evergreen ; 
perennial;  blooms  and  bears  fruit  annually;  3,  poison  creeper,  rhus  radi- 
caus,  habits,  varieties,  size.  Water  plants:  i,  Floating  plant,  insseina 
grandiflora,  habits,  forms  "floating  islands"  or  "quaking  prairies"  in 
southwestern  Louisiana;  2,  panacea  or  Minocca  nut  plant,  nelumbium 
cotophyllum,  habits,  description  of  leaves,  seed-stalk,  flowers;  flowering 
season;  botanical  description  of  the  plant:  i,  Flower,  corrolla,  stamens 
and  pistil  described;  stipes  or  leaf  stem;  leaf,  seed-stalk  pericarp  and 
nuts ;  appearance  presented  by  lakes  covered  with  this  plant ;  Mr.  Eaton's 
mistake;  common  name. 

Chapter  27.  Cultivated  Trees  and  Shrubs. — §  i,  Fruit  trees:  i,  The 
peach  tree;  2,  apple  tree;  3,  red  and  yellow  plum;  4,  blue  plum;  5,  red 
and  black  cherry  tree;  6,  pear  tree;  7,  orange  tree,  its  climate,  supposed 
to  be  indigenous  in  east  Florida;  8,  bearing  pomgranate,  its  climate, 
description  of  the  shrub,  blooming  season,  flowers,  fruit,  productiveness 


236  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

of  the  shrub,  inflorescence  and  fructification;  9,  fig  tree,  its  climate,  sev- 
eral varieties,  description  of  the  tree,  bears  fruit  without  visible  flowers, 
wood  of  the  tree,  fructification,  the  leaves;  the  ripe  fruit,  its  propogation ; 
10,  the  quince  tree. 

§  2.  Ornamental  shrubs  and  flowering  plants;  lower  valley  rich  in  flow- 
ers, and  varieties  almost  innumerable:  i,  Crape  myrtle,  a  most  beautiful 
and  delicate  flower,  description  of  the  shrub,  its  beautiful  appearance 
when  in  full  bloom,  its  inflorescence,  dimensions  of  the  shrub;  2,  flou'er- 
ing  pomgranate,  description  of  shrub  and  flower,  its  climate,  its  flowering 
season;  3,  althea  arborea,  description  of  the  shrub,  of  the  flower,  its  flow- 
ering season,  easily  propagated;  4,  flowering  almond,  description  of  the 
shrub  and  flowers;  5,  Spanish  bayonet  or  tropical  lily,  its  climate,  descrip- 
tion of  the  plant,  its  extraordinary  appearance,  the  stalk  or  culm,  the 
leaves,  the  flowers,  period  at  which  it  begins  to  bloom,  fruit,  flowering 
season;  6,  roses  of  every  variety,  from  February  to  November;  7,  mock 
orange,  description  of  the  plant,  flowers,  blooming  season,  inflorescence; 
8,  Cape  jessamine,  its  climate,  description  of  the  shrub,  of  flowers;  9, 
sensative  locust  or  turkey  acacia,  description  of  the  tree,  leaves,  flowering 
season,  its  climate,  delicate  flowers,  inflorescence;  10,  arbor  vitce  or 
feathered  cedar,  description  of  the  shrub,  flowering  season,  flowers,  fruit; 
n,  cedars,  cultivated  as  an  ornamental  tree;  12,  pride  of  China,  its  cli- 
mate, its  extensive  cultivation  for  shade,  its  dimensions,  description  of 
the  tree,  its  foliage,  its  flowering  season,  its  fruit  or  berries,  narcotic  or 
paralyzing  properties,  rapid  growth  and  easy  propagation;  13,  catalpa 
tree,  flowering  season,  etc. 

BOOK  FIFTH. 
ZOOLOGY  OR  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  BIRDS  AND  ANIMALS. 

Chapter  28.     Animals  and  Quadrupeds. 

General  remarks. 

Class  mammalia.     Tables  of  genera  and  species. 

Special  notice  of  individual  species:  i,  The  wolf;  2,  the  fox,  gray  and 
red;  3,  the  panther;  4,  the  wildcat,  the  catamount;  5,  the  otter;  6,  the 
weasel;  7,  the  skunk  or  polecat;  8,  the  grizzly  bear;  9,  common  black 
bear;  10,  the  raccoon;  n,  the  o'ppssum;  12,  the  beaver;  13,  the  gopher 
or  Louisiana  earthrat;  14,  Louisiana  marmot  or  prairie  dog;  15,  the 
squirrel;  16,  the  deer;  17,  the  elk;  18,  the  antelope;  19,  the  bison  or 
buffalo. 

Chapter  29.     Amphibious  Animals  or  Reptiles. 

Class  amphibia.      Table  of  genera  and  species. 

Special  notice  of  individual  species. — Lestudo:  i,  Loggerhead  turtle;  2, 
Gouffre;  3,  alligator;  4, chameleon;  5,  siren;  6,  rattlesnake ;  7,  colubers — 
Avipers;  8,  stinging  snake;  9,  king  snake. 

Chapter  30.     Birds  of  Prey  and  Fowls  of  the  Air. 

Class  aves.     Table  of  genera  and  species. 

Special  notice  of  individual  species:  i,  Turkey  buzzard;  2,  carrion  vul- 
ture; 3,  bald  eagle;  4,  great  horned  owl;  5,  red  owl  or  screech  owl;  6, 
Carolina  parrot  or  American  parokeet;  7,  crows;  8,  the  blackbird;  9, 
ivory-bill  woodpecker;  10,  robin-red-breast;  n.wild  pigeon;  12,  wild 
turkey;  13,  pheasant;  15,  partridge  or  quail. 

Chapter  31.     Water  Fowls  or  Aquatic  Birds. 
Tables  of  genera  and  species. 

Special  notice  of  individual  species:  i,  Roseate  spoonbill;  2,  whooping 
crane  or  sand-hill  crane;  3,  wild  goose;  4,  swan;  5,  pelican. 


Literary  Services  of  Dr.  John  W.  Monette. — Riley.       237 

BOOK  SIXTH. 
ANTIQUITIES  AND  ABORIGINAL  INHABITANTS. 

Chapter  32.  Indian  Mounds  or  American  Monuments, — The  ruthless 
destruction  of  every  Mexican  record  by  the  Spanish  conquerors. — The 
pyramids  and  monuments  left  are  authentic  histories  in  an  unknown 
tongue;  their  builders  unknown;  their  uses  known  by  induction;  some 
for  mausoleums;  some  for  common  burying  places. — Mounds  found  gen- 
erally in  level  alluvial  lands  and  in  fertile  bottoms. — In  the  lower  valley 
the  mounds  preserve  the  oblong  square  pyramidal  form;  in  the  Ohio 
region  they  are  round  and  leonoidal. — Their  use  is  deduced  from  analogy. — 
Compared  with  those  noted  in  ancient  history. — Durability  of  earthy 
tumuli. — These  tumuli  preferable  as  places  of  interment  to  those  of  mod- 
ern times. — Some  are  remains  of  fortified  places. — A  large  work  of  this 
kind  near  Washington,  Miss.;  description;  extent. — Another  on  Black 
River  in  Louisiana. — Resemblance  of  southern  tumuli  to  those  of  Mexico. 
—Mr.  Flint's  views. — Extracts  from  Atwater's  "Antiquities." — Works  at 
Newark,  Ohio. — Works  at  Marietta. — Works  at  Circleville;  at  Big-Grave 
Creek,  Va. — Humbolt's  views. — Resemblance  to  the  Teocallis  of  Cholula, 
especially  those  of  the  lower  valley  of  the  Mississippi. 

40  pages  Ms. 

Chapter  33.  Indian  Tribes  or  Aboriginal  Inhabitants. — Early  history  of 
the  Iroquois  confederacy. — Six  nations  of  New  York. — Indian  tribes  west 
of  the  Alleghenies  in  the  year  1755  to  1765. — Northern  Indians. — Iro- 
quois confederacy. — Algonquin  tribes,  their  numbers  and  location. — 
Southern  Indians;  five  great  southern  confederacies,  their  numbers  and 
location. — Colonel  Croghan's  estimate  of  Northern  tribes  and  their  num- 
bers in  1765;  numbers  somewhat  diminished  in  1795. — Southern  Indian 
more  numerous. — Country  occupied  by  each  nation:  i,  Chickasaws;  z, 
Choctaws;  3,  Cherokees;  4,  Creeks;  5,  Seminoles;  numbers  of  each; 
diminished  during  war  of  1812-15. — Humane  policy  of  United  States 
Government ;  removal  of  tribes  to  west  side  of  the  Mississippi ;  numbers 
removed  up  to  December  i,  1837;  numbers  then  under  stipulations  to 
remove;  total  number  removed  in  1842. — Indigenous  tribes  on  the  west 
side  of  the  Mississippi ;  names  and  numbers  of  the  different  tribes ;  total 
number  of  Indians  on  the  west  side  of  the  Mississippi,  including  emigrant 
tribes;  number  of  warriors  available;  their  terrible  mode  of  warfare, 
which  makes  them  more  formidable  than  their  numbers  would  seem  to 
justify;  their  vindictive  perseverance  in  hostilities  when  once  excited; 
terror  to  the  frontier  settlements. — The  emigrant  tribes  becoming  civ- 
ilized and  adopting  civilized  usages  and  customs. — Location  of  the  emi- 
grant tribes:  i,  Choctaws;  2,  Chickasaws;  3,  Cherokees;  4,  Creeks;  5, 
Seminoles;  6,  Senecas  and  Shawanese;  7,  Quappaws  and  Osages;  8,  wild 
tribes. — Physical  and  moral  characteristics:  These  uniform  in  all  the  tribes ; 
size;  form;  colour;  countenance;  hair;  fortitude  under  pain  and  priva- 
tion ;  passions ;  moral  sense ;  dress  and  costume  of  the  civilized  Indians ; 
also  of  savages;  mixture  of  savage  and  civilized  usages.— ^Government 
agencies  and  their  objects. — Retrospective  view  of  the  aboriginal  tribes; 
never  as  numerous  as  some  have  supposed;  Bancroft's  opinion.— Con- 
clusion. 


PUBLIC  SERVICES  OF  E.  C.  WALTHALL. 
BY  ALP.  W.  GARNER.' 

Among  Mississippi's  many  public  servants  few  have  served 
her  more  unselfishly  and  faithfully  than  did  Edward  C.  Walthall. 
It  mattered  not  whether  at  the  bar,  on  the  battle-field,  or  in  the 
senatorial  chamber,  her  best  interests  ever  found  in  him  an 
able  and  fearless  champion. 

On  April  4,  1831,  in  the  State  of  Virginia,  "the  mother  of 
great  men,"  and  in  the  historic  city  of  Richmond,  E.  C.  Walthall 
was  born.  He  was  descended  from  an  old  and  honorable  family. 
While  a  small  boy  his  parents  moved  with  him  into  the  State 
of  Mississippi.  He  was  educated  at  the  Academy  of  St.  Thomas, 
Holly  Springs,  a  school  which  took  first  rank  among  the  educa- 
tional institutions  in  Mississippi  at  that  time.  At  an  early  age 
he  began  reading  law.  In  his  twentieth  year  he  was  admitted 
to  the  bar  and  began  practicing  his  profession  at  Coffee ville, 
Mississippi.  His  early  success  as  a  lawyer  was  marked,  and  after 
practicing  four  years  he  was  elected  District  Attorney.  His 
first  election  occurred  in  1856,  and  in  1859  he  was  re-elected  to 
the  same  office,  which  position  he  held  until  the  spring  of  1861, 
when  he  resigned  to  enter  the  Confederate  army.  The  duties  of 
District  Attorney  were  discharged  by  him  in  a  manner  highly 
creditable  to  himself,  pleasing  to  the  law-abiding  lovers  of  jus- 
tice, and  with  a  thoroughness  that  struck  terror  into  the  minds 
of  transgressors. 

In  1 86 1  when  the  civil  war  broke  out  he  saw  his  services  as  a 
successful  prosecuting  attorney  sink  into  insignificance  in  com- 
parison with  the  great  usefulness  that  he  might  perform  in  the 

'Alfred  William  Garner  was  born  at  Topisaw,  Pike  County,  Miss.,  in 
1878.  After  attending  the  common  schools  of  the  county  he  entered  the 
State  Agricultural  and  Mechanical  College  at  Starkville,  from  which  insti- 
tution he  was  graduated  in  r  901.  He  then  taught  in  the  public  schools 
•  of  Tylertown  and  Wesson  and  was  principal  of  the  high  school  at  Mount 
Herman,  La.,  in  1903-04.  He  was  a  graduate  student  in  History  and 
Political  Science  at  the  University  of  Illinois  in  1904-05  and  at  the  Uni- 
versity of  Chicago  in  1905-06.  He  held  a  scholarship  in  the  latter  insti- 
tution and  received  the  Master's  degree  therefrom  in  1906.  At  present 
he  holds  the  chair  of  History  and  English  in  Simmons  College,  Abilene 
Texas. — EDITOR. 

(239) 


240  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

field.  Accordingly  in  the  spring  of  that  year  he  resigned  as 
District  Attorney  and  tendered  his  services,  as  already  stated, 
to  the  Confederate  authorities  as  First  Lieutenant  of  Company 
H,  Fifteenth  Mississippi  Regiment.  His  gallantry  on  the  field 
soon  led  to  his  rapid  promotion.  On  the  I5th  of  June  he  was 
elected  Lieutenant-Colonel  of  his  regiment.  It  was  while  serv- 
ing in  this  capacity  that  he  participated  in  the  battle  of  Mill 
Springs,  or  Fishing  Creek,  Ky.,  and  for  the  first  time  exhibited 
those  qualities  of  coolness,  self-possession,  courage  and  resource- 
fulness in  the  face  of  confusion  and  disaster  that  afterwards 
became  so  characteristic  of  his  conduct  on  the  battle-field.  At 
this  battle  the  commanding  general  had  fallen  and  the  untrained 
soldiers  were  in  a  state  of  the  wildest  confusion.  The  whole 
army  was  saved  from  great  disaster  only  by  Walthall's  holding 
his  men  in  line  and  throwing  them  in  the  face  of  the  foe.  Not 
long  after  this  Lieutenant-Colonel  Walthall  was  made  Colonel 
of  the  Twenty-ninth  Mississippi,  and  in  December,  1862,  he 
was  made  Brigadier-General.  At  the  battle  of  Chickamauga 
his  division  took  part  in  the  thickest  of  the  fight.  It  is  stated 
that  32%  of  his  command  were  killed  in  this  engagement.  At 
the  battle  of  Missionary  Ridge  the  destruction  of  the  Confed- 
erate army  was  prevented  by  Walthall,  who,  though  wounded, 
kept  his  command,  held  his  men  in  line  and  sheltered  the  de- 
feated Confederate  army  from  the  attacks  of  the  Union  soldiers 
until  they  could  withdraw  in  good  order.  It  is  said  that  when 
the  army  was  safe  Walthall  had  to  be  lifted  from  his  saddle,  so 
painful  had  become  his  wound.  In  that  fearful  battle  of  Frank- 
lin, Tenn.,  where  it  is  estimated  by  some  that  six  thousand 
out  of  sixteen  thousand  Confederates  went  down,  Walthall's 
division  was  in  the  front  rank.  At  the  battle  of  Nashville  the 
Confederates  were  defeated,  and  when  the  question  of  how  the 
capture  of  the  Confederate  army  could  be  prevented  was  being 
seriously  considered  by  the  Confederate  commanders,  Forrest 
said  to  Hood,  "Give  me  Walthall  to  command  a  division  of 
infantry  and  I  promise  that  the  army  shall  retreat  in  safety." 
The  army  was  saved  and  how  much  Walthall  contributed  to 
this  fact  is  too  well  known  to  be  repeated  here.  "Moreau's 
successful  retreat  through  the  Black  Forest  was  more  glorious 
than  the  victory  of  Hohenlinden,  so  this  retreat  shed  as  imper- 


Public  Services  of  E.  C.  Walthall. — Garner.  241 

ishable  glory  upon  Forrest  and  Walthall  as  any  won  by  their 
most  splendid  victories."  At  the  battle  of  Lookout  Mountain 
Walthall  held  at  bay  General  Hooker's  division  with  such  dogged 
tenacity  that  his  conduct  was  characterized  by  General  Bragg 
as  "desperate,"  and  by  General  Thomas  as  "stubborn." 

General  Walthall  took  part  in  all  the  important  battles  from 
Missionary  Ridge  to  Atlanta.  In  June,  1864,  he  was  promoted 
to  the  rank  of  Major-General.  In  the  last  days  of  the  war  his 
men  lined  up  for  battle  at  Bentonville,  North  Carolina,  when 
all  hope  for  the  South  was  gone.  He  stated  that  no  event  in 
his  life  had  ever  touched  him  so  much  as  when  he  rode  down 
the  line  that  day  and  the  familiar  cheer  burst  forth  from  the 
tattered  remnant  of  his  old  division,  while  every  one  in  the  divi- 
sion knew  that  the  Confederacy  was  hopelessly  doomed  to 
defeat. 

General  Walthall  was  kind  to  the  men  who  served  under  him. 
It  is  said  that  after  the  battle  of  Nashville  one  cold  night  he 
wrapped  the  last  blanket  that  he  had  around  a  wounded  sol- 
dier, and  spent  the  night  himself  on  the  frozen  ground  without 
any  shelter  whatever,  and  from  that  day  on  he  was  never  a 
stout  man.  Gen.  Joseph  E.  Johnston  declared  that  if  the  Con- 
federate war  had  lasted  two  years  longer  General  Walthall 
would  have  been  chosen  commander  of  all  the  Confederate 
armies. 

At  the  close  of  the  war  General  Walthall  returned  to  Coffee- 
ville,  Mississippi,  and  resuming  his  law  practice  remained  at 
that  place  until  1871,  when  he  removed  to  Grenada.  He  served 
as  a  delegate  to  the  Democratic  National  Conventions  of  1868, 
1876,  1880,  1884  and  1896,  and  was  vice-president  of  the  con- 
vention of  1868  and  chairman  of  the  Mississippi  delegation  in 
the  other  four. 

In  1885,  when  President  Cleveland  made  Senator  Lamar 
Secretary  of  the  Interior  in  his  cabinet,  Governor  Lowry  ap- 
pointed General  Walthall  as  his  successor  in  the  United  States 
Senate.  That  this  appointment  was  a  popular  one  is  shown 
by  the  fact  that  several  subsequent  Legislatures  made  the 
same  choice.  General  Walthall  was  eminentry  fitted  to  succeed 
Lamar.  It  is  very  doubtful  whether  his  toga  could  have  passed 
to  the  shoulders  of  any  other  Mississippian  who  was  so  well 


242  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

qualified  to  take  up  and  to  continue  the  great  work  of  Senator 
Lamar.  There  existed  between  these  two  men  such  a  "firm 
and  true"  friendship  that  it  was  said  to  be  difficult  to  tell  whether 
Lamar  partook  most  of  Walthall  or  Walthall  of  Lamar.  In 
this  friendship  Lamar  found  great  inspiration  and  support. 
In  a  letter  written  in  1868  he  said  to  General  Walthall: 

"Do  you  know  that  but  for  you  I  could  not  keep  up?  I  would  have 
given  up  long  ago  and  never  made  an  effort." 

Senator  Walthall  took  his  seat  in  the  United  States  Senate  on 
the  1 2th  of  March,  1885,  in  the  first  session  of  the  Forty -ninth 
Congress.  Among  the  prominent  Senators  who  served  with 
him  were  Hoar  of  Massacushetts,  Cullom  of  Illinois,  Spooner 
of  Wisconsin,  Vest  of  Missouri,  Gorman  of  Maryland,  Colquitt 
of  Georgia,  Morgan  of  Alabama,  Allison  of  Iowa,  Teller  of  Col- 
orado, Bate  of  Tennessee,  Edmunds  of  Vermont,  Cockrell  of 
Missouri,  George  of  Mississippi,  and  Ingalls  of  Kansas. 

Upon  taking  his  seat  Senator  Walthall  was  assigned  to  the 
Committee  on  Civil  Service  and  Retrenchment,  Education  and 
Labor,  Manufactures,  Military  Affairs,  and  Public  Lands.  He 
served  on  the  Committee  on  Military  Affairs  throughout  the 
entire  time  that  he  was  in  the  Senate,  becoming  chairman  of  it 
during  the  first  session  of  the  Fifty-third  Congress. 

During  this  session  Senator  Walthall  introduced  bills  to 
transfer  Attalla  County  to  the  eastern  division  of  the  northern 
judicial  district;  to  classify  and  fix  the  salaries  of  registers  and 
receivers  of  United  States  land  offices ;  to  require  the  New  Or- 
leans, Mobile  &  Texas  Railroad  Company  to  construct  and 
maintain  a  suitable  draw  in  that  company's  bridge  across  the 
West  Pascagoula  River  in  Mississippi ;  to  amend  an  Act  for  the 
construction  of  a  public  building  at  Oxford,  Mississippi;  to 
construct  a  national  road  to  the  cemetery  at  Corinth,  Missis- 
sippi ;  to  authorize  the  Mississippi  &  Louisiana  Bridge  Com- 
pany to  construct  a  bridge  at  Natchez.  He  also  introduced  a 
great  number  of  private  bills  and  presented  a  number  of  peti- 
tions praying  for  legislation  on  various  subjects. 

The  first  important  speech  delivered  in  the  Senate  by  Sen- 
ator Walthall  was  made  May  10,  1886,  on  Interstate  Commerce. 
This  speech  occupies  several  pages  in  the  Record,  and  while  Mr. 


Public  Services  of  E.  C.  Walthall. — Garner.  243 

Walthall  was  opposed  to  giving  the  power  of  fixing  rates  to  a 
commission,  he  declared  himself  emphatically  in  favor  of  Con- 
gressional supervision  and  control  of  the  great  railroad  compa- 
nies doing  business  among  the  States.  He  took  the  position 
that  even  though  the  railroads  were  not  oppressing  the  people 
in  their  dealings  with  them,  Congressional  control  was  neces- 
sary from  the  simple  fact  that  such  oppression  in  the  absence  of 
legal  restraints  was  possible.  He  showed  that  it  was  utterly 
impossible  for  the  States  to  control  these  huge  corporations, 
owing  to  the  fact  that  nearly  every  railroad  of  any  importance 
was  engaged  in  interstate  traffic,  which  constitutionally  belongs 
under  the  control  of  Congress.  Speaking  of  the  great  wealth 
controlled  by  these  railroad  companies,  and  the  power  and 
influence  they  exert  throughout  the  country,  he  said  in  part: 

"Their  lines  to-day  stretch  out  140,000  miles  and  their  ownership  is 
estimated  to  equal  one-sixth  of  the  entire  possessions  of  all  the  people 
living  under  our  government.  To  this  many  millions  are  being  added 
yearly  by  the  construction  of  thousands  of  miles  of  new  road.  It  has  not 
been  many  years  since  all  the  railroad  property  in  the  Union  was  worth 
less  than  the  amount  of  this  yearly  addition. 

"The  people  pay  these  companies  over  $800,000,000  a  year  for  trans- 
portation and  the  commodities  transported  run  up  to  fifteen  billions  a 
year  in  value.  It  is  estimated  that  800,000  men  are  employed  in  con- 
structing and  operating  these  railroads.  Some  of  these  companies  have 
more  patronage  to  bestow  than  a  cabinet  officer,  and  some  of  their  presi- 
dents have  been  paid  larger  salaries  than  the  President  of  the  United 
States.  Many  of  them  receive  and  distribute  vastly  more  money  per 
annum  than  passes  through  the  treasury  of  many  of  the  States  of  this 
Union."* 

He  also  made  remarks  of  minor  importance  during  this  session 
on  the  suspension  of  the  public  land  laws. 

During  the  second  session  of  the  Forty-ninth  Congress,  which 
met  in  December,  1886,  Senator  Walthall  was  excused  from 
serving  on  the  Committee  on  Manufactures.  He  was  appointed 
conferee  on  the  part  of  the  Senate  on  'the  disagreement  over  a 
bill  to  forfeit  the  land  grants  of  the  New  Orleans,  Baton  Rouge 
&  Vicksburg  Railroad.  He  introduced  during  this  session  a 
joint  bill  to  have  the  quarantine  station  removed  from  Ship 
Island  and  offered  an  amendment  to  a  river  and  harbor  bill. 
He  also  reported  about  eighteen  bills  to  the  Senate  from  the 
various  committees  of  which  he  was  a  member. 

^Record,  Forty-ninth  Congress,  first  session,  p.   4307. 


244  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  Fiftieth  Congress,  which  met  in  De- 
cember, 1887,  Senator  Walthall  was  reassigned  to  his  old  com- 
mittees with  the  exception  that  he  was  transferred  from  the 
Committee  on  Education  and  Labor  to  that  on  the  Improve- 
ment of  the  Mississippi  River  and  its  Tributaries.  He  was  also 
appointed  at  least  seven  times  in  the  course  of  this  session  on 
committees  to  confer  with  House  committees  on  disagreements 
over  various  measures.  Likewise  he  was  appointed  to  attend 
the  annual  examinations  of  the  cadets  at  the  United  States 
Naval  Academy  at  Annapolis,  which  took  place  in  April,  1888. 
Besides  the  reintroduction  of  most  of  the  measures  which  he 
had  placed  before  the  Senate  during  the  previous  session,  Sen- 
ator Walthall  introduced  a  bill  to  withdraw  the  public  lands  of 
the  United  States  in  Mississippi  from  sale  at  ordinary  private 
entry,  and  to  restrain  the  disposal  thereof  under  general  statutes 
to  homestead  settlers.  This  bill  was  of  vital  importance  to 
the  people  of  Mississippi,  since  its  object  was  to  put  a  stop  to 
the  action  of  the  great  syndicates  in  gobbling  up  the  public 
domain  as  a  mere  investment  with  no  intention  of  settling  on 
this  land  and  becoming  citizens  of  the  State.  He  offered  amend- 
ments to  bills  on  war  claims,  river  and  harbors,  and  to  a  bill 
forfeiting  certain  railroad  land  grants,  the  latter  of  which  deeply 
concerned  the  people  of  Mississippi  who  had  settled  along  the 
proposed  route  of  the  Gulf  and  Ship  Island  Railroad.  As  early 
as  1856  the  United  States  had  granted  to  the  State  of  Missis- 
sippi certain  lands  to  aid  in  the  construction  of  the  Gulf  &  Ship 
Island  Railroad,  provided  that  the  road  should  be  completed 
at  a  fixed  time.  The  time  limit  for  the  completion  of  the  road 
had  long  since  expired  and  many  settlers  had  pre-empted  in 
good  faith  much  of  this  land.  While  a  bill  was  pending  to  for- 
feit all  land  grants  to  aid  in  the  construction  of  railroads  it  was 
so  amended  as  to  extend"  the  grant  made  to  aid  in  the  construc- 
tion of  the  Gulf  &  Ship  Island  Railroad  until  the  road  could  be 
completed  and  the  land  redeemed  by  the  company.  Senator 
Walthall  was  quick  to  see  that  if  such  a  bill  was  allowed  to  pass 
as  it  then  stood,  the  settlers  on  this  land  would  find  that  the 
Gulf  &  Ship  Island  Railroad  Company  had  titles  to  their  homes, 
so  he  amended  the  bill  to  confirm  the  title  of  every  settler  on 
the  land  who  had  complied  with  the  pre-emption  and  homestead 
laws. 


Public  Services  of  E.  C.  Walthall. — Garner.  245 

During  the  course  of  this  session  Senator  Walthall  made 
remarks  on  the  Fort  Brooks  Reservation  bill,  railroad  land 
grants,  and  the  Vicksburg  public  building,  and  also  participated 
in  a  short  debate  on  the  New  Bern  Cemetery  Road.  The  most 
important  speech  made  by  him  during  this  session,  and  one  of 
the  ablest  that  he  ever  made  in  the  Senate,  was  on  the  Municipal 
Election  of  Jackson,  Mississippi.  This  speech  fills  twenty  col- 
umns in  the  Record  and  is  an  able  exposition  of  the  race  ques- 
tion. Briefly  stated,  the  matter  got  before  the  Senate  in  the 
following  way:  In  the  municipal  ejection  of  Jackson,  Missis- 
sippi, in  the  year  1887,  the  Republican  candidate  for  mayor 
was  defeated  and  a  Democrat  elected  in  his  stead.  Some 
Republicans  of  the  State  sent  a  letter  to  a  prominent  Republi- 
can Senator  in  which  it  was  alleged  that  the  negro  Republicans 
of  Jackson  had  been  deprived  of  their  constitutional  right  of 
suffrage  by  fraud  and  intimidation,  and  prayed  for  an  investi- 
gation. A  committee  was  appointed  to  investigate  the  matter, 
and  when  they  made  their  report  Senator  Walthall  took  the 
floor.  He  declared  that  it  was  a  permanent  feature  of  Repub- 
lican policy  to  bring  before  the  United  States  Senate  from  time 
to  time  the  internal  affairs  of  the  Southern  States.  He  declared 
that  such  tactics  had  been  followed  both  in  1876  and  1884  for 
the  purpose  of  defeating  the  Democratic  party  in  the  Presi- 
dential elections.  He  asserted  that  the  people  of  Jackson  had 
only  put  forth  a  righteous  effort  to  rid  themselves  of  one  of  the 
most  inefficient  and  corrupt  administrations  that  had  ever 
afflicted  an  American  community,  and  appealed  most  eloquently 
to  his  Anglo-Saxon  brethren  to  bear  in  mind  that  the  only  step 
in  the  evolution  of  the  colored  man  before  he  was  made  a  citizen 
was  from  barbarism  to  slavery,  and  to  cease  the  vain  effort  to 
try  to  place  him  above  a  race  whose  evolution  extends  through 
many  centuries  of  experiment,  sufferings  and  trials.  He  said: 

"I  do  not  believe  that  there  is  a  Senator  here  who  would  not  if  he  lived 
in  the  State  of  Mississippi  put  forth  all  his  powers  to  avert  the  horrors  of 
black  supremacy  and  save  his  own  people  if  he  could  from  the  calamities 
of  such  a  curse.  I  do  not  believe  that  there  is  a  white  community  in  any 
Northern  State  who,  if  in  our  condition,  would  tamely  and  meekly  sub- 
mit to  a  reign  of  ignorance  and  venality  under  which  honorable  white 
men  of  intelligence  and  substance  would  be  excluded  from  all  high  places 
of  official  trust  in  the  State  and  all  the  possessions  and  most  sacred  interest 


246  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

of  their  race  brought  under  the  rule  of  uneducated,  undisciplined  and 
irresponsible  negroes."3 

He  frankly  admitted  that  there  were  no  few  afflictions  and 
grievances  in  the  South  as  a  result  of  the  presence  in  that  sec- 
tion of  two  different  races,  but  he  insisted  that  Federal  enact- 
ments would  only  aggravate  the  trouble  and  that  their  cure 
must  be  left  to  the  healing  effects  of  time  and  patience. 

During  this  session  Senator  Walthall  made  a  rather  elab- 
orate speech  in  the  case  of  Henry  J.  Fanz,  of  Aberdeen.  The 
people  of  Aberdeen  had  burned  Procter,  the  Secretary  of  War, 
in  effigy  for  not  giving  orders  to  have  the  flag  lowered  on  the 
date  of  Jefferson  Davis'  death.  During  the  performance  Fanz 
cut  the  rope  by  which  the  effigy  was  suspended,  for  which,  as 
he  claimed,  the  citizens  assaulted  him  and  treated  him  in  a 
brutal  manner.  The  United  States  Marshal  made  a  complaint 
to  the  Attorney-General  at  Washington,  and  while  a  resolution 
was  before  the  Senate  calling  on  the  Attorney -General  to  lay 
the  complaint  before  the  Senate,  Senator  Walthall  made  his 
speech.  He  vigorously  denied  the  power  of  the  Senate  to  call 
for  the  report.  The  resolution  was  defeated  through  the  efforts 
of  Senators  Walthall  and  George,  who  also  spoke  against  it. 

During  the  second  session  of  the  Fiftieth  Congress,  which 
assembled  in  December,  1888,  Senator  Walthall  introduced  an 
amendment  to  a  bill  for  the  allowance  of  certain  claims  for 
stores  and  supplies  taken  and  used  by  the  United  States  army. 
He  also  introduced  a  resolution  instructing  the  committee  on 
the  Judiciary  to  inquire  into  the  propriety  of  amending  the 
existing  laws  in  regard  to  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Circuit  Courts 
of  the  United  States.  The  introduction  of  a  number  of  bills 
of  a  private  character  and  the  reporting  of  several  bills  from  the 
different  committees  on  which  he  served  completed  his  work 
of  this  session. 

While  serving  in  the  Fifty-first  Congress,  which  met  in  March, 
1889,  Senator  Walthall  was  reassigned  to  his  old  committees. 
In  the  first  session  of  this  Congress  he  re-introduced  three  bills 
which  he  had  previously  introduced,  together  with  twenty- 
one  private  bills,  offered  an  amendment  to  a  bill  to  forfeit  rail- 
road land  grants  and  reported  about  twenty -eight  bills  to  the 

3Record,  Fiftieth  Congress,  first  session,  p.  7982. 


Public  Services  of  E.  C.  Walthall. — Garner.  247 

Senate.  He  was  appointed  no  less  than  seven  different  times 
during  the  session  to  confer  with  committees  from  the  House 
on  disagreements.  Bills  for  appropriation  for  fortifications; 
forfeiture  of  railroad  land  grants ;  tents  for  flood  sufferers  and 
for  the  purchase  of  Townsend's  library,  were  all  made  subjects 
of  remarks  by  him  during  this  session.  He  also  took  part  in  a 
debate  on  the  overflow  of  the  Mississippi,  in  which  he  used  his 
wit  to  the  discomfiture  of  his  adversary,  Senator  Stewart.  Con- 
cerning the  best  method  of  preventing  the  overflow  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi, Walthall  was  of  course  in  favor  of  the  levee  system, 
while  Senator  Stewart  insisted  on  the  outlet  system,  that  is,  that 
the  channel  at  the  mouth  of  the  river  should  be  deepened.  In 
support  of  this  theory  Senator  Stewart  stated  that  the  mouth  of 
the  river  should  be  made  deeper,  that  the  trouble  with  every 
stream  on  earth,  that  had  been  examined,  was  that  it  builds  a 
dam  for  itself  when  it  widens  out  in  connection  with  the  ocean, 
and  thus  valleys  are  formed.  He  claimed  that  the  Nile  had 
built  itself  out  many  miles ;  a  large  part  of  the  Mississippi  has 
built  out  for  many  miles,  and  the  Po  has  done  likewise.  In  the 
course  of  his  reply  Senator  Walthall  said: 

"I  simply  want  to  suggest  to  the  Senator  that  his  question  has  spread 
out  a  good  deal  like  the  mouth  of  the  Mississippi  [laughter].  There  are 
shoals  in  it,  and  if  he  would  make  it  a  little  more  pointed  and  direct  I 
should  be  obliged  to  him.  I  would  like  him  to  narrow  it  a  little."4 

During  the  second  session  of  the  Fifty-first  Congress,  which 
convened  in  December,  1889,  Senator  Walthall  was  placed  on  a 
select  Committee  on  Indian  Depredations.  He  was  also  ap- 
pointed with  five  other  members  of  the  Senate  to  attend  the 
funeral  ceremonies  of  -General  W.  T.  Sherman.  He  was  also 
again  honored  with  the  appointment  to  attend  the  annual  exam- 
inations of  the  cadets  of  the  Military  Academy  at  West  Point. 

In  the  course  of  the  session  he  spoke  on  Mississippi  suffrage, 
apportionment  of  Representatives,  bridges,  and  a  pension  to 
Wilting.  His  greatest  speech  of  the  session,  however,  was  on 
the  proposed  General  Election  Law.  Senator  Walthall,  in 
opposing  the  measure,  declared  that  while  it  was  general  in  its 
provisions,  the  South  was  the  objective  point  at  which  it  was 
directed,  and  that  it  encouraged  the  negro  race  to  contend  with 

^Record,  Fifty-first  Congress,  first  session,  pp.  3919,  3920,  3921. 


248  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

the  whites  for  the  mastery  in  politics.  He  stated  that  such  a 
measure  would  result  in  the  drawing  anew  of  the  partially  oblit- 
erated color  line  in  Southern  politics,  excite  the  white  man's 
apprehension  of  negro  dominion  and  strengthen  his  efforts  to 
prevent  it  and  revive  in  the  credulous  and  impulsive  negro 
hopes  of  power  that  could  not  be  fulfilled.  He  again  acknowl- 
edges that  the  South  has  before  her  a  great  and  difficult  prob- 
lem as  a  result  of  the  presence  of  the  negro.  To  prove  this  he 
quotes  the  following  from  Senator  Hoar,  of  Massachusetts: 

"I  make  them  [remarks  concerning  the  South]  with  full  knowledge  of 
the  difficult  problem  that  awaits  us,  and  the  problem  that  especially 
concerns  our  friends  south  of  Mason  and  Dixon's  line.  We  will  pour 
out  our  money  like  water;  you  may  tax  us  by  the  millions,  or  the  thou- 
sand millions,  if  it  is  needed  to  give  these  people  intelligence  which  is 
necessary  to  fit  them  to  live  with  you  as  citizens."5 

When  the  Fifty-second  Congress  convened  in  December, 
1891,  Senator  Walthall  was,  as  usual,  reassigned  to  his  old  com- 
mittees with  the  exception  of  the  Committee  on  Indian  Depre- 
dations, which  had  served  its  purpose  and  no  longer  existed. 
He  introduced  in  this  Congress  a  bill  to  authorize  the  Legis- 
lature of  Mississippi  to  sell  or  lease  the  lands  heretofore  appro- 
priated to  the  use  of  schools  within  the  Chickasaw  cessions,  and 
to  ratify  the  sales  already  made.  He  introduced  also  a  reso- 
lution directing  the  Committee  on  Privileges  and  Elections  to 
inquire  into  and  consider  whether  legislation  was  not  necessary 
to  settle  questions  that  have  arisen  from  time  to  time  concern- 
ing the  time  and  manner  of  holding  the  elections  for  United 
States  Senators.  He  reintroduced  several  bills  that  had  been 
introduced  by  him  on  previous  occasions,  besides  seven  or 
eight  private  bills. 

He  made  remarks  during  this  session  on  the  Chickasaw  land 
cessions  in  Mississippi,  on  the  treaty  rights  of  aliens,  and  deliv- 
ered a  eulogy  on  the  life  and  character  of  Preston  B.  Plumb, 
late  Senator  from  Kansas.  It  was  during  this  session  that  Jus- 
tice L.  Q.  C.  Lamar  died,  and  his  life  and  character  was  also 
made  the  subject  of  a  speech  by  General  Walthall  in  the  Senate. 

In  the  Fifty -third  Congress,  which  met  March  4,  1893,  Sen- 
ator Walthall  was  appointed  to  membership  on  the  Committee 

^Record,  Fifty-first  Congress,  second  session,  p.  367. 


Public  Services  of  E.  C.  Walthall. — Garner.  249 

on  the  Organization,  Conduct  and  Expenditures  of  the  Executive 
Department.  He  was  made  chairman  of  the  Committee  on 
Military  Affairs,  on  which  committee  he  had  rendered  able  serv- 
ice ever  since  his  entry  into  the  Senate.  The  Vice-President 
also  appointed  him  a  member  of  the  Board  of  Directors  of  the 
Columbia  Institute  for  the  Deaf  and  Dumb.  He  introduced 
while  serving  in  this  Congress  a  bill  to  dedicate  Chickamauga 
Park.  This  being  the  year  of  the  great  panic  and  the  "free 
silver  craze,"  it  is  not  at  all  surprising  that  the  money  question 
occupied  no  little  amount  of  Senator  Walthall 's  time  and  atten- 
tion. His  first  duty  along  this  line  consisted  in  presenting  a 
memorial  from  the  Mississippi  Legislature  praying  for  the  repeal 
of  the  Sherman  silver  purchasing  clause  in  the  Act  of  July  14, 
1890.  He  also  had  to  make  the  proper  disposition  of  a  number 
of  private  petitions  praying  for  similar  action.  The  greater 
part  of  his  time,  however,  expended  on  this  subject  was  no  doubt 
consumed  in  the  preparation  and  delivery  of  an  exhaustive 
speech  on  silver  bullion.  He  made  talks  of  minor  importance 
during  this  same  session  on  the  dedication  of  the  Chickamauga 
Park  and  on  deserted  land  entries. 

Senator  Walthall  seems  to  have  entered  upon  the  duties  of 
the  second  session  of  the  Fifty-third  Congress  in  a  state  of 
broken  health.  Despite  this  fact  he  was  active  in  bringing 
things  to  pass.  He  introduced  a  bill  to  indemnify  Mississippi 
for  the  failure  of  a  title  to  a  township  of  land  intended  to  be 
granted  to  her  on  her  admission  into  the  Union,  and  a  bill  to 
regulate  enlistments  in  the  army,  and  a  joint  bill  to  relieve  the 
employes  of  the  Record  and  Pension  office,  who  were  injured 
in  the  Ford  Theater  disaster,  from  the  law  restricting  the  amount 
of  sick  leave  with  pay  that  may  be  granted  by  the  heads  of  de- 
partments. Senator  Walthall  was  too  conscientious  to  hold 
an  office  when  he  thought  that  its  duties  might  be  better  per- 
formed by  some  one  else,  accordingly  when  he  thought  that 
his  feeble  state  of  health  was  interfering  with  his  duties  he  deter- 
mined to  make  room  for  his  successor.  So  on  January  18,  1894, 
the  Chair  "with  serious  regret"  was  called  upon  to  lay  before 
the  Senate  his  resignation,  to  take  effect  on  the  24th  day  of  the 
same  month. 


250  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

When  Senator  Walthall  resigned  he  lacked  about  fourteen 
months  of  having  served  out  the  second  term  to  which  he  had 
been  elected  by  the  Legislature  in  January,  1888,  to  a  term 
ending  March  3,  1895.  In  1892  the  Legislature  had  elected 
him  to  a  third  term  ending  March  3,  1901,  so  his  successor  in 
1894,  Senator  McLaurin,  served  only  in  the  third  session  of  the 
Fifty-third  Congress,  which  met  in  December,  1894,  and  ended 
March  3,  1895.  At  the  opening  of  the  Fifty -fourth  Congress 
on  December  2,  1895,  Senator  Walthall  resumed  his  seat  and 
entered  upon  the  duties  of  a  third  term  for  which  he  had  been 
elected  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  he  had  written  a  public  letter 
refusing  to  become  a  candidate.  At  the  opening  of  this  session 
he  was  assigned  to  the  Committees  on  Finance,  on  Geological 
Survey,  to  a  select  committee  for  the  establishment  of  a  Univer- 
sity of  the  United  States,  and  to  two  other  committees  on  which 
he  had  already  served.  Again  he  was  made  one  of  the  Direct- 
ors of  the  Institute  for  the  Deaf  and  Dumb.  In  the  course  of 
this  session  he  introduced  bills  to  amend  an  Act  incorporating 
the  Capital  Railroad  Company,  a  bill  for  the  equalization  of 
land  grants  for  educational  purposes,  and  at  least  a  half  dozen 
private  bills.  He  presented  eight  petitions  to  the  Senate, 
reported  fifteen  bills  from  committees  of  which  he  was  a  mem- 
ber, and  made  brief  remarks  on  a  site  for  the  Biloxi  Hospital, 
the  Capital  Railroad  Company,  and  the  Indian  appropriation 
bill. 

During  the  second  session  of  the  Fifty -fourth  Congress,  which 
met  December  7,  1896,  Senator  Walthall  was  appointed  by  the 
Vice-President  to  attend  again  the  annual  examinations  of  the 
cadets  at  the  Military  Academy  at  West  Point. 

At  the  opening  of  the  first  session  of  the  Fifty-fifth  Congress, 
which  convened  on  March  4,  1897,  Senator  Walthall  was  made 
Chairman  of  the  Committee  on  Revolutionary  Claims.  He  also 
enjoyed  the  distinction  of  being  one  of  the  members  of  the  com- 
mittee appointed  in  the  Senate  to  attend  the  ceremonies  on  the 
occasion  of  the  presentation  of  the  tomb  of  General  Grant  to 
the  city  of  New  York.  He  introduced  during  this  session  bills 
to  amend  an  Act  restoring  to  the  public  domains  lands  in  Mis- 
sissippi and  Alabama  not  needed  for  naval  purposes,  to  relieve 
the  owners  of  cotton  shipped  on  the  steamer  Gladiator,  and  to 


Public  Services  of  E.  C.  Walthall.— Garner.  251 

allow  a  bridge  to  be  built  across  Pearl  River.  He  made  speeches 
of  minor  importance  on  the  Pearl  River  bridge  and  on  increas- 
ing the  tariff  on  soda  ash. 

When  the  second  session  of  the  Fifty-fifth  Congress  opened 
in  December,  1897,  the  remaining  part  of  Senator  Walthall's 
senatorial  career  was  but  brief,  for  before  this  session  closed 
death  visited  the  senatorial  chamber  and  claimed  him  for  its 
victim.  Before  his  death,  however,  he  offered  an  amendment 
to  a  sundry  civil  service  bill  and  reintroduced  a  bill  to  amend 
the  charter  of  the  Capital  Railroad  Company.  He  offered  a 
motion  calling  for  the  report  of  the  supervising  surgeon  of  the 
Marine  Hospitals,  and  one  to  investigate  the  question  of  the 
removal  of  the  quarantine  station  from  Ship  Island.  He  also 
presented  to  the  Senate  a  memorial  from  the  Legislature  of 
Mississippi  praying  for  the  United  States  to  intervene  in  the 
war  between  Spain  and  Cuba.  He  also  delivered  a  eulogy  on 
the  life  and  character  of  Senators  I.  G.  Harris  and  J.  Z.  George. 
His  last  appearance  in  the  Senate  is  said  to  have  been  on  the 
7th  of  April,  when  he  delivered  a  eulogy  on  the  character  and 
services  of  Senator  George.  His  physicians  and  friends  advised 
him  not  to  venture  to  the  Senate  chamber  that  day,  so  feeble 
was  he,  but  with  death  itself  almost  staring  him  in  the  face, 
and  with  a  sense  of  duty  uppermost  in  his  mind,  he  repaired  to 
the  Senate,  and  uttered  an  able  eulogy  on  the  life  and  character 
of  the  "Old  Commoner."  Thus  he  put  a  finishing  touch  to  his 
senatorial  career,  for  within  two  weeks  of  that  time  he  lay  dead 
in  his  hotel.  He  died  on  April  21,  1898,  the  day  that  Congress 
fixed  as  the  beginning  of  the  Spanish-American  War. 

When  Senator  Money  announced  on  April  22d  the  death  of 
Senator  Walthall  a  resolution  expressing  "profound  sorrow" 
was  adopted,  and  as  a  further  mark  of  respect  the  Senate  ad- 
journed. On  the  following  day  at  12  o'clock  sharp  the  mem- 
bers of  the  House,  the  diplomatic  corps,  the  Justices  of  the 
Supreme  Court  and  the  President  of  the  United  States  with 
the  members  of  his  cabinet  assembled  with  the  Senators  in  the 
Senate  chamber  and  in  the  presence  of  the  casket  that  con- 
tained the  remains  of  Mississippi's  great  soldier  and  statesman, 
a  fervent  prayer  was  offered  by  the  chaplain  and  the  funeral 
rites  of  the  Episcopal  Church  were  performed  by  several  emi- 


252  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

nent  clergymen.  A  committee  was  then  appointed  to  accom- 
pany the  remains  to  their  final  resting  place  at  Holly  Springs, 
Mississippi. 

On  the  days  set  aside  for  paying  tribute  to  the  memory  of 
Senator  Walthall  the  following  persons  spoke  in  eulogy  of  his 
life  and  character:  Senators  Money,  Hawley,  Berry,  Spooner, 
Gray,  Gorman,  Cockrell,  Bate,  Bacon,  Pettus,  and  Representa- 
tives Allen,  Spallding,  Williams,  Henry,  Fox,  Spight,  Boutelle, 
Bartlet,  McLain  and  Myer. 

As  a  Senator  General  Walthall  ranked  high.  His  wisdom, 
his  fairness,  his  conservatism,  his  fine  courtesy  and  chivalric 
manners  won  for  him  the  confidence  and  respect  of  even  those 
members  whose  political  faith  differed  from  his  own.  This  fact 
is  borne  out  by  the  testimony  of  many  who  served  with  him. 
Senator  Spooner  of  Wisconsin,  his  personal  friend,  in  speaking 
of  him,  said: 

"I  never  met  one  in  whose  personal  loyalty  I  had  more  implicit  trust 
or  into  whose  care  I  would  more  willingly  commit  my  honor  or  my  life. 

"Calm,  self-contained,  thoughtful,  always  considerate  of  others,  char- 
itable in  his  judgments,  tolerant  of  differences  of  opinion,  making  due 
allowances  for  the  influences  of  tradition,  association,  the  prejudices  of 
environment  and  all  the  factors  which  enter  into  life,  he  was  a  character 
rare  in  its  evenness  and  perfection.  *  *  *  It  is  no  disparagement  of 
others  to  say  of  him  that  from  the  South  has  come  no  man  who  in  fuller 
measure  answered  to  the  old-time  romantic  ideal  of  the  best  type  of 
the  Southern  gentleman  than  did  Senator  Walthall." 

Senator  Gray  of  Delaware,  speaking  of  the  great  worth  of 
Senator  Walthall,  among  other  things,  said: 

"There  is  no  contribution  that  Mississippi  could  have  made  to  the 
nation  that  could  have  compared  in  enduring  value  to  that  of  the  char- 
acter of  her  great  soldier  and  statesman.  *  *  *  And  no  State  in  the 
great  sisterhood  of  States  can  fail  to  realize  the  bright  hopes  of  a  high 
destiny  that  breeds  such  men  and  builds  such  character." 

He  was  always  just  and  impartial  in  his  dealings  with  matters 
that  came  before  him  for  settlement.  Senator  Hawley,  who 
served  with  him  almost  twelve  years  on  the  Committee  on  Mili- 
tary Affairs,  speaks  of  him  in  the  following  terms: 

"His  judgment  was  sound,  his  temper  perfect.  Before  that  committee 
[on  Military  Affairs]  came  many  cases  of  erroneous  record  to  be  corrected — 
cases  of  injustice,  owing  to  the  haste  and  carelessness  or  momentary  petu- 
lance, new  evidence  that  failed  to  reach  a  court  martial,  etc.,  almost 
without  end.  In  his  treatment  of  all  such  matters  no  stranger  coming 
as  a  casual  observer  could  have  discovered  on  which  side  of  the  great 
war  he  had  arraigned  himself." 


Public  Services  of  E.  C.  Walthall. — Garner.  253 

Senator  George  F.  Hoar  of  Massachusetts,  who  represented 
the  highest  and  best  traditions  of  the  Senate,  speaks  in  the 
highest  terms  of  Senator  Walthall.  In  attempting  to  describe 
the  high  esteem  in  which  Senator  Walthall  was  held  by  the  great 
Massachusetts  Senator,  I  can  do  no  better  than  quote  him. 
He  says: 

"If  I  were  to  select  the  one  man  of  all  others  with  whom  I  have  served 
in  the  Senate,  who  seems  to  me  the  most  perfect  example  of  the  quality 
and  character  of  the  American  Senator,  I  think  it  would  be  Edward  C. 
Walthall  of  Mississippi.  I  knew  him  personally  very  little.  I  do  not 
now  remember  that  I  ever  saw  him  except  in  the  Capitol  or  in  the  Capitol 
grounds.  I  had,  I  dare  say,  some  pleasant  talks  with  him  in  the  Senate 
chamber  or  the  cloak  room.  But  I  remember  little  of  them  now.  He 
rarely  took  part  in  debate.  He  was  a  very  modest  man.  He  left  to  his 
associates  the  duty  of  advocating  his  and  their  opinions,  unless  he  was 
absolutely  compelled  by  some  special  reason  to  do  it  himself.  When 
he  did  speak  the  Senate  listened  to  a  man  of  great  ability,  eloquence  and 
dignity.  I  once  heard  him  encounter  William  M.  Evarts  in  debate. 
Evarts  made  a  perpared  speech  upon  a  measure  which  he  had  in  charge. 
Walthall's  reply  must  have  been  unpremeditated  and  wholly  unexpected 
to  him.  I  think  Evarts  was  in  the  right  and  Walthall  in  the  wrong,  but 
the  Mississippian  certainly  got  the  better  of  the  encounter."' 

Personally  Senator  Walthall  was  very  handsome,  dignified 
in  bearing,  imposing  in  manner,  neat  in  dress,  eloquent  in 
speech,  patient  in  opposition  and  never  wounded  the  feelings  of 
an  adversary.  With  the  exception  of  the  gifted  Lamar  Missis- 
sippi never  had  a  representative  in  the  upper  House  of  Con- 
gress who  commanded  in  such  a  rare  degree  the  admiration  and 
respect  of  all  his  colleagues  or  wielded  more  influence  in  legis- 
lative matters.  This  is  the  uniform  testimony  of  his  contem- 
poraries. 

•Hoar's  Autobiography  of  Seventy  Years,  Vol.  II,  p.  189. 


MONROE'S  EFFORTS  TO  SECURE  FREE  NAVIGATION 

OF  THE  MISSISSIPPI  RIVER  DURING  HIS  MISSION 

TO  FRANCE,  1794-96. 

BY  BEVERLY  W.  BOND,  JR.' 

The  long  struggle  to  secure  free  navigation  of  the  Mississippi 
River  forms  a  most  important  incident  in  the  early  history  of 
the  United  States.  While  Spain  held  Louisiana  long  diplo- 
matic negotiations  took  place  before  any  settlement  was  reached. 
It  is  not  generally  known  that  James  Monroe,  during  his  first 
mission  to  France,  1794-96,  extended  most  important  aid  in 
securing  the  treaty,  concluded  between  the  United  States  and 
Spain  in  1795,  which  opened  up  the  Mississippi  River. 

While  criticising  Monroe  most  severely  for  his  conduct  as 
Minister  to  France,  Schouler  and  other  historians  of  the  period 
pass  over  in  silence  this  efficient  work.  Much  light  has  recently 
been  thrown  upon  this  subject  by  the  Diplomatic  Archives  of 
the  Department  of  State,  and  by  the  voluminous  Monroe  cor- 
respondence in  the  Congressional  Library.  Of  these  sources  only 
a  part  has  been  published.  Even  Monroe's  biographers  have 
used  this  great  mass  of  material  only  sparingly,  if  at  all.  This 
paper,  based  upon  these  manuscript  sources,  will  undertake  to 
show  the  extent  of  Monroe's  influence  upon  the  negotiations 
with  Spain.  Before  doing  so,  it  is  necessary  to  review  the 
general  situation  previous  to  his  entrance  upon  the  scene. 

'Dr.  Beverly  W.  Bond,  Jr.,  was  born  in  Blacksburg,  Va.  The  Bond 
family  is  one  of  the  oldest  colonial  families  of  Maryland.  Its  mem- 
bers are  well  known  for  their  intellectual  capacity.  The  mother  of  the 
subject  of  this  sketch  is  a  descendant  of  Col.  Zadock  Magruder,  one  of 
the  Revolutionary  heroes  of  Maryland. 

Dr.  Bond  was  educated  for  the  most  part  in  private  schools.  In  1900 
he  received  the  degree  of  A.  B.  from  Randolph-Macon  College,  and  in 
1901  the  degree  of  A.  M.  from  the  same  institution.  In  1 90 <;  he  received 
the  degree  of  Ph.D.  from  the  Johns  Hopkins  University.  While  a  stu- 
dent in  the  latter  institution  he  received  a  prize  of  fifty  dollars  which  was 
offered  by  the  Woman's  Auxiliary  of  the  Massachusetts  Civil  Service  Re- 
form Association  to  the  students  of  the  leading  colleges  and  universities 
of  the  United  States  for  the  best  essay  on  some  phase  of  the  subject  of 
Civil  Service  Reform. 

Dr.  Bond  filled  creditably  the  chair  of  Assistant  Professor  of  History 
in  the  University  of  Mississippi  during  the  session  of  1905-1906.  He 
is  now  Professor  of  English  and  Acting  Professor  of  Economics  and  Civics 
in  the  Southwestern  Presbyterian  University,  Clarksville,  Tenn. — EDITOR. 

(«SS) 


256  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

The  treaty  of  1763  by  which  France  ceded  Louisiana  to  Spain 
guaranteed  to  all  British  subjects  the  free  navigation  of  the 
Mississippi  River  for  its  entire  length.  The  Peace  Treaty  of 
1783  confirmed  this  right  to  citizens  of  the  United  States  as 
well  as  to  all  British  subjects.2  The  Continental  Congress  in 
1785  appointed  John  Jay  plenipotentiary  to  Spain  to  negotiate 
a  treaty  establishing  this  right.  But  the  Spanish  Premier 
Gardoqui,  asserted  that  England  could  not  give  away  such  n 
privilege,  and  that,  therefore,  the  claim  of  American  citizens 
to  navigate  the  Mississippi  River  was  ill-founded.3  An  agree- 
ment was  made  between  Jay  and  Gardoqui  that  American  ves- 
sels should  convey  goods  down  the  river  to  a  fixed  point  where 
a  magazine  was  to  be  established.  There  Spanish  boats  would 
meet  them  to  cover  the  rest  of  the  distance  to  New  Orleans. 
Whether  sea-going  vessels  might  convey  these  products  from 
this  port  was  to  form  the  subject  of  future  negotiations. 4  This 
agreement  was  not  confirmed  either  by  the  United  States  or  by 
Spain  The  same  fate  met  a  proposed  treaty  which  resigned 
for  twenty-five  years  the  right  of  the  United  States  to  free  navi- 
gation. A  very  annoying  situation  therefore  arose.  For  all 
practical  purposes  American  citizens  possessed  no  rights  of 
navigating  the  Mississippi  River  through  Spanish  territory. 

With  the  growth  of  the  Western  country  the  necessity  for  free 
navigation  greatly  increased.  Unless  produce  was  carried  by 
the  difficult  routes  over  the  Alleghany  Mountains,  or  by  the 
Great  Lakes,  the  Mississippi  was  the  only  outlet.  Also  there 
was  great  need  for  some  port  on  the  lower  Mississippi  at  which 
American  goods  might  be  transferred  from  the  small  river  craft 
to  ocean-going  vessels  without  the  payment  of  special  duties. 
By  onerous  tolls  and  restrictions  placed  upon  American  vessels 
descending  the  Mississippi,  the  Spanish  governors  evinced  their 
hostility  to  the  United  States.  The  rapid  increase  in  produc- 
tion made  such  a  condition  so  intolerable  that  Kentucky  and 
Tennessee  even  threatened  to  secede.  Spain  tried  to  take 

2Memoir  of  Thos.  Pinckney,  August  10,  1795,  American  State  Papers, 
Vol.  I,  p.  536. 

3 Jay's  Commission,  July  21,  1785;  Gardoqui  to  John  Jay,  May  26, 
1786,  American  State  Papers,  Vol.  I,  pp.  248-49. 

4Carmichael  and  Short  to  Secretary  of  State,  April  18,  1793,  American 
State  Papers,  Vol.  I,  pp.  248-49. 


Free  Navigation  of  the  Mississippi  River.  —  Bond.        257 

advantage  of  the  situation  in  order  to  stir  up  rebellion  against 
the  United  States. 

To  remedy  this  situation,  January  n,  1792,  Washington 
nominated  Wm.  Carmichael  and  Wm.  Short  Commissioners  to 
negotiate  with  Spain  a  treaty  for  the  free  navigation  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi by  American  citizens,  and  for  the  use  of  a  Spanish  port 
thereon.5  Upon  their  arrival  they  found  Gardoqui  much  dis- 
inclined to  meet  their  propositions.  Instead  he  proposed  again 
the  unconfirmed  agreement  he  had  made  with  Jay.'  As  these 
terms  were  altogether  unacceptable,  the  negotiations  greatly 
lagged.  As  late  as  January,  1794,  two  years  after  the  appoint- 
ment of  the  commissioners,  the  -  Spanish  Government  still 
evinced  an  utter  indifference  to  a  settlement  of  the  question  of 
the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  River.7 

The  non-success  of  the  commissioners  to  Spain  produced 
much  discontent  in  the  United  States.  Goaded  to  fury  by  the 
little  attention  which  they  believed  had  been  paid  to  their  inter- 
ests, the  inhabitants  of  the  Western  country  proposed  to  assert 
their  rights  to  free  navigation  by  force.  In  the  spring  of  1794 
Gen.  Geo.  Rogers  Clarke  attempted  to  form  an  expedition  with 
large  detachments  from  Kentucky  and  the  back  country  of 
South  Carolina  which  should  march  south  and  open  the  Missis- 
sippi to  their  vessels.  The  men  engaged  for  the  service  were 
promised  bounties  from  the  lands  in  East  and  West  Florida, 
which,  it  was  hoped,  would  be  conquered  from  the  Spaniards. 
The  iron  works  in  Kentucky  cast  cannon  for  the  invasion, 
while  citizens  of  Lexington  subscribed  to  defray  the  expenses 
of  the  proposed  expedition.8  The  prompt  action  of  the  govern- 
ment in  calling  upon  the  Governor  of  Georgia  to  use  the  militia  of 
that  State,  if  necessary,  prevented  the  realization  of  these  plans.9 
This  incident  illustrates  the  current  sentiment  of  the  Western 
country  at  this  time.  They  were  determined  to  find  a  natural 

5  American  State  Papers,  Vol.   I,  p.   137. 

'Carmichael  and  Short  to  Secretary  of  State,  April  18,  1793,  American 
State  Papers,  Vol.  I,  pp.  248-49. 

'Carmichael  and  Short  to  Secretary  of  State,  January  7,  1794  Ameri- 
can State  Papers,  Vol.  I,  pp.  440-42. 

"Constant  Freeman  to  Secretary  of  War,  May  14,  1794,  American  State 
Papers,  Vol.  I,  p.  460 


p°     "0*  of  Georgia-  May 


258  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

outlet  through  the  channel  of  the  Mississippi  River,  and,  if  the 
Federal  Government  would  not  secure  it  for  them,  they  would 
force  it  for  themselves.  On  the  other  hand,  the  commissioners 
seemed  to  be  unable  to  get  any  definite  assurances  from  the 
Spanish  Government.  So,  while  the  American  Government 
was  exerting  itself  to  restrain  the  increasing  indignation  of 
the  Western  people  at  the  injustice  with  which  they  appeared 
to  be  treated,  in  Madrid  there  was  a  deadlock.  Such  was  the 
situation  when,  on  May  23,  1794,  James  Monroe  received  his 
credentials  as  Minister  to  France.  This  appointment  marks  the 
entrance  of  a  new  and  forcible  element  into  the  Spanish  nego- 
tiations. France  having  become  the  dominant  Continental 
power,  it  was  obvious  that  she  would  soon  compel  Spain  to  sue 
for  peace.  If,  at  the  same  time,  France,  as  the  ally  of  the  United 
States,  would  bring  pressure  to  bear,  the  American  administra- 
tion believed  that  Spain  might  be  induced  to  settle  the  naviga- 
tion controversy.  The  instructions  to  Monroe  therefore  had 
advised  him  that  France  might  be  instrumental  in  securing  the 
free  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  River.  Especially  had  it 
been  suggested  that  by  contriving  to  be  made  the  medium  in 
the  coming  negotiations  between  France  and  Spain,  he  might 
obtain  the  much  needed  French  help.10 

Upon  his  arrival  in  France  Monroe  became  firmly  convinced 
of  the  great  danger  to  the  United  States  in  a  definite  peace 
between  France  and  Spain  without  provision  for  the  free  navi- 
gation of  the  Mississippi  River  by  American  citizens.1  *  He  held 
himself  ready  to  take  advantage  of  the  slightest  pretext  to  pre- 
sent the  Mississippi  controversy  to  the  attention  of  the  French 
Government.  A  favorable  opening  was  soon  offered.  Two 
letters  from  Gardoqui,  the  Spanish  Premier,  asked  Monroe  to 
procure  for  him  passports  into  France  that  he  might  take  certain 
baths.  Monroe  rightly  concluded  that  this  request  was  a  mere 
blind  to  open  communication  between  France  and  Spain.  He 
at  once  submitted  the  correspondence  to  the  French  Govern- 
ment, notifying  Gardoqui  of  his  action,  and  referring  him  to 
the  Committee  of  Public  Safety.12 

1  ° Instructions  to  Monroe,  American  State  Papers,  Vol.  I,  pp.  668-69. 

1 1 Monroe  to  Secretary  of  State,  November  20,  1794,  Monroe's  Writings, 
Vol.  II,  pp.  117-24. 

1  JMonioe  to  Committee  of  Public  Safety  and  to  Don  Diege  de  Gardoqui, 
November  13,  1794,  Monroe's  Writings,  Vol.  II,  pp.  109-12  and  127. 


Free  Navigation  of  the  Mississippi  River. — Bond.        259 

This  incident  afforded  Monroe  the  very  opportunity  for  which 
he  had  waited  in  order  to  press  upon  the  French  Government  the 
claims  of  the  United  States  with  respect  to  the  Mississippi.  In 
observations  submitted  to  the  Committee  of  Public  Safety  he 
showed  the  importance  of  free  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  to 
a  very  large  section  of  the  United  States.  As  a  loan  from  the 
United  States  had  been  officially  suggested,  he  intimated  that 
a  considerable  sum  might  be  obtained  provided  France  would 
give  satisfactory  assurances  to  consider  American  interests  in 
negotiating  with  Spain.18  Mindful  of  Monroe's  aid  in  the 
Gardoqui  affair,  the  French  Government  in  reply  assured  him 
of  its  full  intention  to  obtain  for  the  United  States  the  free 
navigation  of  the  Mississippi.14  This  response  shows  that  Mon- 
roe had  at  length  obtained  a  powerful  ally  for  the  American 
negotiations  with  Spain. 

Early  in  1795  news  of  the  conclusion  of  a  treaty  by  Jay  with 
Great  Britain  caused  a  decidedly  chilly  demeanor  on  the  part 
of  the  French  Government.  The  secrecy  observed  in  regard  to 
the  provisions  of  the  treaty  until  after  its  ratification  by  the 
Senate  in  the  following  June  increased  this  coldness.  Monroe, 
while  endeavoring  to  avoid  any  rupture  with  France,  still  tried 
to  secure  French  aid  for  the  American  negotiations  at  Madrid. 
In  a  memorial  to  the  Committee  of  Public  Safety  he  again  rep- 
resented the  situation  of  the  Mississippi  Valley  and  the  depend- 
ence of  a  large  section  of  the  United  States  upon  free  navigation 
as  the  only  feasible  means  of  commercial  intercourse.  To  attain 
this  he  again  asked  the  aid  of  France  during  the  negotiations 
with  Spain.15 

The  Committee  of  Public  Safety  merely  acknowledged  this 
communication,1  *  but  later,  Citizen  Merlin,  in  charge  of  diplomatic 
affairs,  promised  definitely  that  the  note  should  receive  due 
consideration.  He  added,  most  significantly,  that  French  aid 
would  largely  depend  upon  the  course  adopted  by  the  American 
Government  toward  the  Jay  treaty,  and  that  between  nations, 

1 'Monroe's  Writings,  Vol.  II,  pp.  193-200. 

1 4Monroe  to  Secretary  of  State,  February  12,  1795,  Monroe's  Writings, 
Vol.  II,  pp.  193-200. 

16 Monroe  to  Committee  of  Public  Safety,  January  2?,  170?,  Monroe's 
Writings,  Vol.  II,  pp.  182-86. 

l9Committee  of  Public  Safety  to  Monroe,  February  8,  1795,  American 
State  Papers,  Vol.  i,  p.  699. 


260  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

as  between  individuals,  there  should  be  reciprocity  of  obliga- 
tion. These  last  observations,  Merlin  took  care  to  say,  he  gave 
merely  as  a  private  individual.17  This  covert  threat  gives  the 
keynote  to  the  hesitation  of  the  French  Government  to  aid  the 
United  States  in  the  Spanish  negotiations.  Against  the  feeling 
of  distrust  engendered  by  the  Jay  treaty  Monroe  was  obliged 
continually  to  struggle. 

A  further  incident  aided  Monroe  still  more  in  calling  upon  the 
French  Government  for  aid.  So  successful  had  his  action  in 
the  Gardoqui  incident  proved  that  in  February,  1795,  he  was 
asked  to  transmit  to  Madrid  two  notes  which  marked  the  begin- 
ning of  active  negotiations  between  France  and  Spain.18  Avail- 
ing himself  of  this  incident,  Monroe  again,  on  March  8th,  re- 
called to  the  Committee  of  Public  Safety  the  demands  of  the 
United  States ;  ist,  for  the  free  navigation  of  the  Mississippi 
River  and  the  full  territorial  limits  guaranteed  by  the  peace 
treaty  of  1783 ;  2d,  for  the  use  by  American  ships  of  New  Orleans 
or  of  some  other  equally  convenient  Spanish  port.  These 
points  he  asked  them  to  urge  in  the  course  of  negotiations  with 
Spain.1"  On  handing  this  note  to  M.  Pelet,  of  the  French  Dip- 
lomatic Committee,  Monroe's  messenger  assured  him  that  the 
free  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  River  would  be  of  little  real 
benefit  unless  a  port  was  granted  as  well.  In  reply  M.  Pelet 
declared  that  France  would  do  all  in  her  power  for  the  interest 
of  America  in  a  negotiation  with  Spain.  Later,  after  being 
assured  that  no  provisions  of  the  Jay  treaty  should  give  uneasi- 
ness to  the  French  Government,  M.  Pelet  definitely  advised 
Monroe  that  the  French  agent  at  Madrid  had  been  instructed 
to  secure  the  points  in  controversy  for  the  United  States.20 

This  last  note  of  M.  Pelet  indicates  that  Monroe  had  at  last 
succeeded  in  inducing  the  French  Government  to  take  an  active 
interest  in  the  American  negotiations  with  Spain.  This  was 
the  last  assurance  obtained  from  France  on  the  subject.  The 

1 'Merlin  to  Wilmar  Skipwith,  Department  of  State,  Dispatch  No.  4, 
France,  212. 

1 'Monroe  to  Committee  of  Public  Safety,  February  17,  1795,  Monroe's 
Writings,  Vol.  II,  p.  206. 

19Monroe  to  Committeeof  Public  Safety,  March  8,  1795,  Department  of 
State,  Despatches  No.  4,  France,  213. 

20J.  C.  Montflorence  to  Monroe,  March  9,  1795,  Department  of  State, 
Despatches  No.  4,  France,  113-14;  Monroe  to  Secretary  of  State,  March 
9,  1795,  Monroe's  Writings,  Vol.  II,  pp.  217—19. 


Free  Navigation  of  the  Mississippi  River. — Bond.        261 

continued  secrecy  of  the  Jay  treaty  had  its  effect,  and  the 
French  Government  began  to  evince  a  marked  coolness  toward 
America. 

Meanwhile  Thomas  Pinckney  had  been  appointed  minister 
plenipotentiary  to  conclude  a  treaty  with  Spain.  Shortly  after 
his  arrival  on  the  continent  in  the  spring  of  1795,  the  changed 
attitude  of  France  was  forcibly  illustrated.  In  notifying  the 
Committee  of  Public  Safety  of  Mr.  Pinckney's  journey  through 
France,  Monroe  offered  to  send  any  messages  to  Spain  by  him.21 
No  response  seems  to  have  been  made  to  this  offer.  An  addi- 
tional incident,  while  showing  the  change  of  Spanish  sentiment, 
still  further  indicated  the  growing  distrust  of  France  for  the' 
United  States.  Also  in  May,  Wm.  Short,  one  of  the  American 
commissioners  at  Madrid,  wrote  that  Spain  was  most  anxious 
for  a  settlement  with  France.  By  the  desire  of  the  Spanish 
premier  he  asked  that  Monroe  propose  to  France  open  nego- 
tiations with  Spain.  This  last  request  could  not  be  granted, 
since  France  refused  to  accept  American  mediation.22 

These  two  instances  plainly  showed  that  no  further  aid  could 
be  expected.  But  French  pressure  upon  Spain  had  already 
accomplished  its  object.  Upon  his  arrival  Pinckney  found  that 
a  most  favorable  disposition  speedily  to  conclude  a  treaty  with 
the  United  States  was  being  manifested.  Indeed  the  Spanish 
Minister,  the  Duke  de  la  Acudia,  declared  that  the  King  was 
willing  to  sacrifice  a  part  of  his  rights  as  a  testimonial  of  his 
good  will  toward  the  United  States.  Nor  was  it  difficult  to  dis- 
cern the  cause  of  this  conciliatory  attitude,  so  different  from 
that  manifested  toward  Carmichael  and  Short.  At  the  first 
conference  with  Pinckney  the  Duke  proposed  that,  as  the  Amer- 
ican and  the  French  negotiations  were  so  intimately  connected, 
they  should  proceed  together.  Though  this  offer  was  not 
accepted,  Pinckney  wrote  home  that  the  process  of  the  American 
negotiations  could  not  have  been  upon  a  better  footing.  This 
favorable  disposition  he  ascribed  to  the  work  of  the  French 
commissioners  who  had  very  evidently  fulfilled  the  promises  to 
Monroe  that  France  would  insist  upon  a  settlement  by  Spain 

21Monroe  to  Committee  of  Public  Safety,  May  12,  1795,  Monroe's  Writ- 
ings, Vol.  II,  pp.  284-5. 

22 William  Short  to  Monroe,  May  4,  1795;  Monroe  to  William  Short, 
May  30,  1795,  Monroe's  Writings,  Vol.  II,  pp.  288-92. 


262  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

with  the  United  States.  As  a  proof  of  the  influence  of  Monroe's 
attitude,  the  Duke  de  la  Acudia  informed  Pinckney  that  the 
American  minister  at  Paris  opposed  any  accommodation  be- 
tween France  and  Spain  which  did  not  acknowledge  the  interests 
of  the  United  States  by  a  guarantee  of  the  free  navigation  of 
the  Mississippi.23 

With  the  way  thus  paved  Pinckney  finally  negotiated  the 
treaty  concluded  October  27,  1795,  which  guaranteed  to  Ameri- 
can citizens  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  and  for  three  years 
the  use  of  New  Orleans  as  a  free  port  for  the  storage  of  their 
goods. 

The  importance  of  Monroe's  work  in  bringing  about  this  final 
adjustment  is  apparent.  Some  outside  influence  must  have 
been  brought  to  bear  to  account  for  the  changed  attitude  of 
Spain  at  the  outset  of  Pinckney 's  mission.  The  Spanish  min- 
ister's avowal  of  the  close  connection  between  the  French  and 
the  American  negotiations,  his  intimate  knowledge  of  Monroe's 
attitude  toward  the  conclusion  of  a  treaty  between  France  and 
Spain,  above  all  Pinckney 's  own  testimony,  all  show  that  the 
representations  of  the  French  commissioners  had  been  largely 
instrumental  in  the  final  success  of  the  American  negotiations 
in  Spain.  Apparently  the  only  other  reason  for  this  change  of 
attitude  was  Spain's  fear  that,  in  case  of  an  even  closer  treaty 
than  that  negotiated  by  Jay  between  the  United  States  and 
Great  Britain,  the  former,  if  hostile,  might  prove  most  dan- 
gerous to  Louisiana.  The  French  aid  to  the  United  States  was 
due  entirely  to  the  persistence  of  Monroe,  who  had  worked  for 
the  greater  part  of  the  time  under  the  most  adverse  conditions. 
By  his  persistent  representations  of  their  interests,  therefore, 
Monroe  had  played  a  most  important  part  in  gaining  for  the 
people  of  the  Western  country  the  free  navigation  of  the  Missis- 
sippi River  for  its  entire  length,  and  the  use  of  New  Orleans  as 
a  free  port  of  deposit. 

23Thos.  Pinckney  to  the  Secretary  of  State,  July  10  and  21,  1795, 
American  State  Papers,  Vol.  I,  pp.  534-35. 


A  SKETCH  OF  THE  OLD  SCOTCH  SETTLEMENT  AT 
UNION  CHURCH. 

BY  C.  W.  GRAFTON. 

This  is  the  name  given  to  a  large  section  of  country  in  the 
eastern  end  of  Jefferson  County,  Mississippi.  It  extends  about 
twenty  miles  from  west  to  east,  running  over  into  the  present 
county  of  Lincoln  for  several  miles.  Its  average  width  is  per- 
haps ten  miles  from  north  to  south.  It  embraces  the  two  Pres- 
byterian Churches  of  Ebenezer  and  Union  and  at  a  later  date 
two  Methodist  Churches,  Nebo  and  Galatia.  It  has  figured  in 
civil  and  church  councils  for  nearly  one  hundred  years. 

In  1805,  just  after  the  Louisiana  purchase,  four  men  with 
their  families  came  from  North  Carolina  to  Tennessee  and  re- 
mained there  for  one  year,  thence  by  way  of  the  Mississippi 
River  they  came  to  Bruinsburg,  in  Claiborne  County.  So  far 
as  can  be  found  out  these  were  the  first  settlers  in  the  section 
known  as  the  Scotch  Settlement.  These  four  persons  were 
George  Torrey,  his  son  Dongold  Torrey,  Laughlin  Currie  and 
Robert  Willis.  They  made  two  crops  in  Claiborne  County,  and 
in  1806  settled  in  Jefferson  County,  near  the  present  site  of 
Ebenezer  Church.  They  were  soon  followed  by  the  Gilchrists, 
Galbreaths  and  Camerons.  A  few  years  later  all  the  country 
around  Union  Church,  which  is  twelve  miles  east  of  Ebenezer, 
was  filled  with  Scotch  settlers  who  came  mainly  from  North 
Carolina.  Some  of  them,  it  is  said,  spoke  the  Gaelic  language, 
and  to  this  day  there  is  extant  in  one  of  our  homes  a  book  of 
the  Psalms  and  the  Westminster  Shorter  Catechism  in  that  old 
dialect.  These  Scotch  people  were  nearly  all  Presbyterians  and 
the  history  of  the  settlement  is  mainly  a  history  of  the  two 
Presbyterian  Churches  that  were  organized  at  the  very  begin- 
ning of  the  period.  These  two  churches  were  Ebenezer  and 
Union  Church.  Thirty  years  ago  Ebenezer  Church  was  dis- 
solved and  the  building  sold  to  our  Methodist  brethren.  This 
was  caused  by  the  constant  removals  from  the  neighborhood 
to  cities  and  towns.  The  records  of  the  old  church  are  not 
accessible  to  the  writer  and  therefore  details  must  be  omitted 
from  this  sketch. 

(263) 


264  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

The  church  was  organized  in  1811  by  Rev.  Jacob  Ricklaw. 
During  all  its  palmy  days  its  pastor  was  the  Rev.  William  Mont- 
gomery. It  was  a  church  of  great  wealth  and  influence.  One 
of  its  members  stated  not  long  ago  that  in  the  days  of  its  pros- 
perity it  represented  property  worth  a  million  of  dollars.  This 
is  not  difficult  to  believe  when  we  recall  the  names  of  some  of 
its  prominent  families.  There  were  the  Darden  families,  includ- 
ing Jesse  Darden,  Buckner  Darden,  Samuel  Darden  and  George 
Darden.  There  were  two  or  three  families  each  of  Camerons, 
Curries,  Montgomerys  and  Torreys.  There  were  the  families 
of  Malcolm  Gilchrist,  Duncan  McArn,  J.  J.  Warren  and  quite 
a  number  of  others.  Now,  when  we  remember  that  the  soil 
was  in  its  virgin  state,  that  these  men  owned  a  great  many  slaves 
and  that  they  were  very  valuable,  we  can  readily  credit  the 
statement  concerning  the  wealth  of  this  part  of  the  Scotch  set- 
tlement. This  section  of  the  county  furnished  its  full  share  of 
representatives  in  the  State  and  County  government.  George 
Torrey  was  for  a  long  time  sheriff  of  the  county.  His  son,  W.  D. 
Torrey,  and  M.  M.  Currie  were  at  different  times  members  of 
the  State  Senate,  while  Daniel  H.  Cameron  represented  his 
county  in  the  lower  house  of  the  Legislature.  The  people  of 
Ebenezer  were  refined  and  cultivated  and  to  them  the  civil  war 
with  its  results  was  exceedingly  disastrous.  When  their  slave 
property  was  lost  their  lands  became  useless.  Their  splendid 
carriages,  wagons  and  teams  rapidly  disappeared.  The  price  of 
cotton  was  not  remunerative,  the  old  men  gradually  died  and 
the  young  men  left  the  farms,  so  that  the  glory  of  this  part  of 
the  Scotch  settlement  is  mainly  in  the  past.  Some  of  the  old 
houses  remain  and  there  are  good  citizens  in  the  community, 
but  the  Scotch  element  has  passed  away. 

Union  Church  was  organized  in  1817  by  Rev.  Joseph  Bullen 
before  the  State  was  admitted  into  the  Union.  The  earliest 
settlers  came  in  1808  and  1810.  They  were  mainly  from  Rob- 
eson  County,  North  Carolina.  The  pioneer  missionaries  sent  out 
by  the  Synod  of  the  Carolinas  began  preaching  here  in  1811. 
After  several  years  Rev.  Joseph  Bullen  gathered  the  Presbyte- 
rian families  that  had  collected  from  different  parts  of  the  coun- 
try and  organized  them  into  a  church,  which  has  ever  since  been 
known  as  Union  Church.  In  process  of  time  a  postoffice  was 


The  Scotch  Settlement.— Grafton.  265 

established  and  a  village  grew  up  which  took  the  name  of  Union 
Church  and  which  at  one  time  was  incorporated ,  with  its  mayor 
and  other  officers.  In  1880  the  Union  Church  High  School 
was  organized  under  a  liberal  charter  and  has  been  maintained 
with  more  or  less  success  for  more  than  twenty  years. 

The  people  in  the  early  days  were  noted  for  the  simplicity  of 
their  manners.  They  were  not  wealthy,  as  were  their  neigh- 
bors of  Ebenezer.  They  were  plain,  unpretending,  honest  peo- 
ple. Father  Montgomery,  who  preached  so  long  at  Ebenezer, 
was  likewise  the  pastor  of  Union  Church.  He  served  in  this 
position  from  1820  to  1848  and  was  a  most  faithful  minister. 
In  a  marked  manner  he  was  punctual  in  his  appointments  for 
this  long  period  of  twenty-eight  years.  Owing  to  the  sickness 
and  death  of  his  daughter  he  missed  one  Sabbath  day  during 
this  period.  He  was  an  earnest,  self-denying  man.  On  one 
occasion  he  declined  a  large  salary  offered  by  the  people  of  Pine 
Ridge,  preferring  to  give  his  life  to  the  Scotch  people  at  Union 
Church.  He  died  in  1848,  but  his  name  lives  in  the  memory 
of  our  oldest  people  who  speak  of  him  with  the  deepest  venera- 
tion. 

At  a  later  period  in  the  history  o*  the  church  his  son,  Rev.  Sam 
Montgomery,  filled  the  pulpit  for  seven  or  eight  years.  He  was 
a  man  of  great  talent,  with  unusual  power  as  a  public  speaker. 
The  stories  told  of  his  eloquence  are  remarkable.  Thirty  years 
ago  the  writer  saw  him  in  the  pulpit,  and  though  he  was  infirm 
in  body  and  in  declining  years,  no  one  could  have  helped  being 
thrilled  by  the  fascination  of  his  address.  In  1883  Rev.  J.  J. 
Wheat,  Professor  of  Greek  in  the  State  University,  asked  the 
writer,  who  was  on  a  visit  to  Oxford,  what  had  become  of  Sam 
Montgomery.  The  answer  was,  "The  old  man  is  living  about 
among  his  friends."  Said  he,  "I  once  heard  Sam  Montgomery 
preach  and  for  power  and  impressive  ness  and  command  over 
an  audience  I  have  never  seen  him  surpassed,"  or  words  to  that 
effect.  Father  Montgomery  lies  buried  in  the  neighborhood 
of  Ebenezer.  His  son  went  to  the  Yazoo  Delta  in  1884  and 
died  soon  after  in  the  home  of  his  grandson. 

Union  Church  was  supplied  several  years  by  Rev.  Angus  Mc- 
Callum,  next  by  Rev.  John  H.  Smiley,  next  by  Rev.  Thomas 
H.  Cleland.  These  three  served  the  church  for  just  a  few  years 


266  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

each.  Father  McCallum  bought  a  piece  of  land  near  the  village 
of  Union  Church  and  opened  up  a  good,  productive  farm.  He 
was  a  man  of  fine  judgment,  an  excellent  manager  and  was  very 
thrifty  in  the  conduct  of  his  business.  He  had  a  most  excellent 
wife  and  they  reared  a  family  of  ten  sons  and  daughters,  five 
of  whom  are  living  to-day.  This  venerable  brother  died  in 
1885,  and  with  his  good  wife  lies  in  the  graveyard  at  Union 
Church. 

Rev.  John  H.  Smiley  was  from  New  England  and  was  a  man 
of  great  force  of  character.  He  was  a  rigid  Calvinist  of  the  high- 
est type  and  for  many  years  after  his  death  his  strong  presenta- 
tion of  doctrine  remained  fresh  and  green  in  the  memory  of  the 
people.  Rev.  Thos.  H.  Cleland  was  a  mild  and  gentle  man. 
He  died  not  long  since  in  Louisiana. 

Rev.  C.  W.  Grafton  became  pastor  of  Union  Church  in  1873. 
Thirty -two  years  have  passed  away  and  he  still  abides,  going 
out  and  coming  in  among  the  descendants  of  the  ancient  Scotch- 
men. 

The  church  has  been  blessed  with  a  faithful  body  of  Ruling 
Elders  and  Deacons.  During  the  hundred  years  now  closing 
the  following  men  have  served  the  people  as  Ruling  Elders: 

Angus  Patterson,  Neil  Buie,  Jr.,  John  Buie,  Sr.,  Matthew 
Smylie,  Charles  McDougald,  Murdoch  McDuffie,  John  Watson, 
Sr.,  John  Buie,  Jr.,  Archibald  Baker,  Reuben  Lee,  Malcolm 
McPherson,  Lewis  Cato,  Sterling  Cato,  Daniel  Grafton  Buie, 
Daniel  H.  Cameron,  William  B.  Alsworth,  Samuel  Davis  McCal- 
lum, Allen  Baxter  Cato,  N.  R.  C.  Watson,  David  G.  Galbreath, 
John  A.  Smylie,  George  S.  Torrey,  Peter  Wilkinson,  L.  A.  Cato. 

Here,  too,  is  a  list  of  the  Deacons'  names: 

Gilbert  M.  Buie,  Daniel  N.  McLaurin,  Isaac  N.  Buie,  Joseph 
Josling  Warren,  John  A.  Galbreath,  John  L.  Scott,  S.  D.  McCal- 
lum, E.  E.  Smiley,  Allen  B.  Cato,  Dr.  D.  C.  Warren,  A.  Schaefer, 
John  Lee  Scott. 

There  have  been  in  all  three  church  buildings.  The  last  one 
was  erected  in  1852,  has  been  repaired  two  or  three  times  and 
stands  to-day  upon  the  old  site  surrounded  with  venerable  oak 
trees  and  crowned  with  blessed  memories.  During  its  existence 
many  hundreds  have  been  received  into  its  communion.  All 
its  friends  will  recognize  these  leading  family  names.  To  begin 


The  Scotch  Settlement. — Grafton.  267 

with,  there  are  twenty-three  sets  of  Mc's  enrolled  in  its  sacred 
register  of  names: 

McArn,  McArthur,  McBride,  McCall,  McCallum,  McClure, 
McClutchie,  McCormick,  McCorvey,  McDonald,  McDougald, 
McDuffie,  McEachern,  McFater,  Mclntyre,  McLaurin,  McLean, 
McMillen,  McMurchie,  McNair,  McPherson,  McQueen,  McRea. 

These  Mc's  would  establish  the  claim  to  the  title  of  "the 
Scotch  settlement"  if  nothing  else  did. 

There  were  six  different  sets  of  Buies,  whose  sons  in  a  few 
years  married  and  formed  a  large  number  of  Buie  families. 

There  have  been  sixteen  families  of  Catos.  A  few  more  lead- 
ing family  names  are  as  follows : 

Alsworth,  Baker,  Barnes,  Blue,  Brown,  Buckels,  Cameron, 
Clark,  Currie,  Fairly,  Galbreath,  Gilchrist,  Knapp,  Knox,  Lee, 
LeGette,  Newman,  Patterson,  Ray,  Scott,  Smiley,  Smylie, 
Smith,  Torrey,  Warren,  Watson,  Wilkinson. 

The  period  between  1820  and  1830  might  be  called  the  romance 
days  of  the  Scotch  settlement.  Everything  was  young,  bright, 
fresh,  and  full  of  life  and  vigor.  The  country  abounded  in  game 
and  the  streams  in  fish.  The  lowlands  and  sometimes  the  hills 
were  covered  with  canebrakes.  Farming  was  an  easy  matter 
at  that  day.  Burn  away  the  brakes  and  plant  your  corn  and 
you  would  be  sure  of  a  harvest.  Natchez  was  the  market  town 
for  all  the  country  and  Union  Church  was  a  point  on  the  high- 
way between  the  eastern  counties  and  Natchez,  and  in  the  fall 
of  the  year  long  trains  of  wagons  pulled  by  teams  of  heavy 
oxen  were  strung  out  a  hundred  miles  from  the  interior  of  the 
State  to  the  Mississippi  River.  It  is  forty -five  miles  from  Union 
Church  to  Natchez,  and  it  was  a  great  occasion  for  a  farmer  to 
yoke  up  his  oxen  and  start  to  market  with  the  whole  week  before 
him  for  going  and  returning.  Some  of  the  old  Scotch  were  not 
averse  to  strong  drink,  and  coming  back  with  a  jug  of  Scotch 
whisky  their  animal  spirits  would  be  stirred  on  the  way  and  their 
home  coming  would  be  loudly  advertised.  But  such  an  one 
would  unfailingly  be  brought  before  his  brethren  in  the  church 
and  he  would  be  certain  of  a  reprimand  and  would  probably  be 
excommunicated  for  a  while.  The  old  records  of  Union  Church 
abound  in  illustrations  of  the  faithful  dealings  of  the  elders  with 
their  brethren.  Let  a  man  be  overtaken  in  a  fault,  such  as  vio- 


268  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

lating  the  Sabbath  day,  or  taking  God's  name  in  vain,  or  becom- 
ing intoxicated  and  he  was  certain  of  discipline  by  the  church. 
And  this  faithful  attitude  of  the  Ruling  Elders  doubtless  saved 
many  an  erring  brother. 

This  period  was  famous  as  the  camp-meeting  period.  On 
the  slope  of  the  hill  where  the  church  has  stood  so  long  great 
rows  of  wooden  sheds  were  built  and  in  the  fall  of  the  year  the 
people  came  together.  The  best  preachers  of  the  old  Presby- 
tery of  Mississippi  assembled,  and  for  many  days  at  a  time — 
morning,  evening  and  midday — the  voice  of  prayer  and  praise 
and  preaching  was  heard.  No  one  can  tell  the  far-reaching 
influence  of  those  sacred  gatherings.  People  would  come  to 
them  from  a  distance  of  forty  miles  and  more,  would  profess 
faith  in  Christ,  then  go  back  home  to  spread  the  leaven  of  gos- 
pel truth  and  grace.  Surely  in  the  coming  day  when  the  King 
takes  the  roll  of  his  people  it  will  be  said,  "This  and  that  man 
was  born  there." 

Father  Montgomery,  Zebulon  Butler,  Jacob  Rickhow,  Joseph 
Bullen,  James  Smylie,  and  other  godly  men  who  were  faithful 
heralds  in  the  old  Scotch  settlement  passed  away  long  ago,  but 
"they  being  dead  still  speak."  They  live  to-day  in  the  monu- 
mental churches  which  they  founded  and  fed  in  those  early 
days.  Many  men  of  very  fine  talent  were  born  and  reared  in 
this  old  heart  of  the  Scotch  settlement. 

There  was  one  old  Buie  family  out  of  which  came  some  won- 
derful men.  There  was  the  Rev.  Whitfield  Buie,  who  took  first 
honors  at  Oakland  College.  He  was  a  man  of  fine  intellectual 
power.  He  studied  at  Princeton  College,  but  he  had  scarcely 
begun  his  earthly  ministry  when  it  was  closed  by  death.  He 
had  a  brother,  Dr.  William  E.  Buie,  who  for  intellectual  ability 
and  skill  in  the  medical  profession  was  easily  the  peer  of  any 
man  in  all  the  land.  He  was  a  man  of  great  gentleness  and  self- 
denial,  of  chaste  speech  and  behavior,  and  lived  for  the  good  of 
his  fellow  men.  He  had  calls  to  lucrative  positions  in  distin- 
guished medical  institutions,  but  he  declined  them  all  and  gave 
his  life  to  his  humble  friends  of  the  Scotch  settlement.  He 
moved  with  his  brother,  Newton  Buie,  to  Texas  during  the 
•war,  but  returned  like  a  pilgrim  to  the  old  spot  that  gave  him 
birth  and  died  a  man  of  stainless  name  and  sleeps  with  his 
fathers  in  the  sacred  dust  of  our  Scotland. 


The  Scotch  Settlement. — Grafton.  269 

Rev.  William  G.  Millsaps  was  also  a  man  of  unusual  power 
and  influence.  He  studied  theology  at  Danville,  became  a 
minister  in  the  Methodist  Church,  and  for  a  long  time  served  his 
people  faithfully  and  effectively.  He  was  the  brother  of  our 
friend  Major  R.  W.  Millsaps,  of  Jackson. 

When  the  civil  war  broke  out  the  first  company  that  left 
Jefferson  County  for  the  seat  of  war  was  the  "Charley  Clark 
Rifles,"  from  the  Scotch  settlement  around  Union  Church.  It 
was  a  sad  and  long-to-be-remembered  day  when  those  dear 
young  men  paraded  in  the  shade  of  the  trees  close  to  the  old 
church  and  received  from  the  hands  of  Miss  Flora  Buie  a  silken 
banner  of  the  Southern  Confederacy.  Dr.  J.  J.  McLean  was 
the  first  captain  of  this  company  and  Dr.  Rufus  Applewhite 
was  his  successor.  Of  the  105  men  who  formed  that  first  com- 
pany there  are  now  just  twelve  men  living.  Their  names  are 
worthy  of  at  least  a  mention  in  this  short  sketch  of  the  old  com- 
munity and  I  gladly  put  them  here  on  record.  They  are: 

Dr.  Rufus  Applewhite,  Captain;  B.  L.  Applewhite,  C.  C. 
Erwin,  William  Ferguson,  Jake  Garrett,  Joe  Garrett,  Sam  King, 
Winston  King,  F.  Krauss,  S.  D.  McCallum,  Tom  McNair,  Lewis 
Vaughan. 

Their  comrades  lie  all  the  way  from  Sharpsburg  in  Maryland 
to  the  Rio  Grande. 

The  men  of  those  former  days  were  men  of  great  faith  and 
prayer.  A  few  old  people  now  living  tell  many  stories  of  the 
fervency  and  length  of  their  prayers.  They  were  deeply  devoted 
to  the  Calvinistic  interpretation  of  the  Bible  and  to  the  tradi- 
tions and  memories  of  the  old  church  of  the  Covenant,  the  Pres- 
byterian Church,  the  church  of  their  love  and  veneration.  Here 
is  an  instance: 

Mary  McDougald  was  received  into  the  church  in  her  young 
girlhood.  Quite  young  she  married  a  Scotchman  named  Mc- 
Eachern  and  moved  with  him  to  Carroll  County,  where  they 
formed  a  new  home.  She  carried  with  her  all  her  love  for  the 
church  of  her  fathers.  She  was  earnestly  solicited  to  join  a 
church  of  another  denomination  which  at  that  time  held  the 
field  in  her  neighborhood.  Said  she,  "No,  I  will  help  you  all  I 
can.  I  will  sing  with  you  and  pray  with  you,  and  give  money 
to  you,  but  I  am  a  Presbyterian  and  can  never  be  anything  else, 


270  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

and  when  we  have  a  chance  we  will  organize  one  right  here." 
This  good  mother  in  Israel  died  in  1903,  leaving  behind  her  121 
children,  grandchildren  and  great-grandchildren,  and  nearly  every 
one  of  whom  that  has  reached  mature  years  is  now  a  member 
of  the  church  in  full  communion.  She  lived  to  see  seven  white 
Presbyterian  churches  organized  and  one  colored,  all  of  which 
trace  their  origin  directly  to  her  influence.  The  life  of  this  good 
woman  spans  the  whole  century  of  the  Scotch  settlement  at 
Union  Church. 

Another  noted  good  woman  was  Aunt  Mary  Wilkinson.  She 
was  the  daughter  of  Ruling  Elder  Matthew  Smylie,  the  brother 
of  Rev.  James  Smylie.  She  married  Daniel  M.  Wilkinson  of  fine 
Scotch  lineage.  She  was  a  true,  outspoken  member  of  the 
Presbyterian  Church,  perfectly  loyal  to  the  very  last  in  her  love 
for  the  old  settlement  at  Union  Church.  With  her  husband 
she  moved  to  Jackson.  She  gave  one  of  her  daughters  to  Col. 
J.  L.  Power,  another  to  John  D.  McArn,  another  to  Mr.  Cad- 
wallader,  and  she,  too,  spanning  nearly  the  whole  century, 
passed  away  two  or  three  years  since  wearing  a  crown  of  sweet- 
ness and  joy  triumphant  in  the  hope  of  the  gospel.  Her  chil- 
dren and  grandchildren  and  all  her  friends  bless  her  memory. 

There  are  many  others  whose  names  are  found  upon  our  grave- 
stones who  had  in  them  the  stuff  to  make  them  stand  in  Senate 
halls  or  wear  the  crown  of  martyrs,  but  like  the  "many  a  flower 
that  wastes  its  sweetness  on  the  desert  air,"  they  rest  sweetly 
in  their  quiet  beds  with  no  sculptured  urn  or  monument  to  tell 
their  story. 

Like  Ebenezer,  Union  Church  has  suffered  immensely  by  the 
loss  of  its  sons  and  daughters.  During  the  last  thirty  years 
more  than  seventy  families  have  moved  away  from  this  com- 
munity. They  are  found  all  over  the  country.  Memphis, 
Vicksburg,  Port  Gibson,  Natchez,  Jackson,  Hazlehurst,  Wesson, 
Brookhaven,  different  parts  of  Arkansas,  Louisiana,  and  Texas 
claim  the  sons  and  daughters  of  our  old  Scotch  settlement.  It 
seemed  at  one  time  as  if  the  entire  settlement  was  destined  to 
share  the  fate  of  its  twin  sister,  Ebenezer.  But  the  school  and 
the  church  are  wonderful  conservators  of  neighborhood  life, 
and  these  two  factors  have  worked  hand  in  hand  to  keep  alive 
this  old  community.  The  school  bell  still  rings  and  pupils  and 


The  Scotch  Settlement. — Graf  ton.  271 

teachers  meet  in  the  schoolhouse.  Sabbath  after  Sabbath  the 
congregations  assemble  at  the  old  church  and  sing  the  old  songs 
—Arlington,  Mear,  Rockingham  and  Uxbridge.  The  doctrines 
of  grace  still  sound  from  the  pulpit.  Girls  and  boys  make  love, 
as  of  old,  and  evergreens  and  flowers  adorn  the  marriage  altar, 
while  again  and  again  the  people  weep  in  the  house  of  mourning. 

It  might  be  asked  how  the  neighborhood  still  lives  if  its  fami- 
lies move  away  and  none  move  in.  The  answer  is,  it  grows 
from  within.  The  Scotch  settlement  is  an  endogen.  John  D. 
McArn  married  Lizzie  Wilkinson,  and  he  has  twelve  children. 
Peter  Wilkinson  married  Mary  Paris,  and  he  has  ten  living 
children.  J.  E.  Lamb  married  and  had  thirteen.  Clint  Fans 
and  Jim  Currie  have  ten  each.  Would  not  Queen  Victoria, 
the  model  mother  of  Great  Britain,  have  smiled  on  these  de- 
scendants of  the  ancient  highlanders?  Would  not  the  men 
who  love  large  families  feel  at  home  at  Union  Church?  So  the 
church  still  lives  and  has  over  200  members  on  its  rolls. 

The  settlement  is  twenty-five  miles  from  Brookhaven  on  the 
east  and  twenty-one  miles  from  Fayette  on  the  west.  Port 
Gibson  is  twenty-eight  miles  north  and  Meadville  twenty  miles 
south.  The  Scotch  settlement  therefore,  with  Union  Church  as 
a  nucleus,  has  been  in  the  center  of  a  wide  influence  for  100  years. 

They  talk  of  building  a  railroad  from  Hattiesburg  to  Natchez, 
and  a  route  has  been  surveyed  through  Union  Church.  That 
road  may  be  built  and  we  may  get  more  strength.  We  may 
be  opened  up  better  to  the  commerce  and  methods  of  the  world, 
but  the  history  of  Union  Church  for  these  hundred  years  past 
is  beyond  the  reach  of  change.  It  is  embalmed  in  precious 
memories  that  lie  hidden  away  on  old  tombstones  and  in  old 
Bibles  all  over  the  land. 

With  reverent  hearts  we  bid  adieu  to  the  past  and  with  cour- 
age born  out  of  that  past  we  hope  for  the  future. 


LANDS    OF    THE    LIQUIDATING    LEVEE    BOARD 
THROUGH  LITIGATION  AND  LEGISLATION. 

BY  JOHN  WILLIAM  WADE.' 

One  of  the  objections  urged  by  Henry  George  against  private 
ownership  of  land  is  the  fact  that  the  time  and  talent  of  many  of 
the  greatest  men  of  the  world  are  more  or  less  taken  up  with 
the  study  of  the  intricacies  of  the  law  of  real  property.  The 
student  of  law  when  he  first  pores  over  the  dry  pages  of  Black- 
stone,  distinguishing  the  four  general  classes  of  estates,  then 
subdividing  these  classes  ad  infinitum,  as  he  thinks,  losing  himself 
in  this  labyrinth  of  law,  fully  appreciates  the  force  of  Mr.  George's 
remark.  Indeed,  able  lawyers  have  concluded  that  the  full 
comprehension  of  the  English  common  law  of  real  property,  as 
founded  upon  the  doctrines  of  the  feudal  system,  is  beyond 
the  power  of  any  one  man.  But  while  the  feudal  tenures  are 
the  source  of  the  law  of  real  estate  of  this  country,  their  tech- 
nicalities have  been  lopped  off  by  enactments,  constitutional 
and  statutory,  until  at  the  present  day  there  is  but  little,  if  any, 
trace  of  them  remaining  in  the  American  law  of  real  property. 

But  while  it  is  true  that  under  our  modern  jurisprudence 
lands  are  held  "free  from  the  burdens  of  tenure,"  yet  our  law- 
makers have  created  to  the  lands  familiarly  known  as  the  lands 
of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  titles  in  some  respects  more 
complicated  than  the  tenures  of  olden  times.  It  is  not  the  pur- 
pose of  this  article  to  attempt  an  analysis  of  these  titles,  but 
rather  to  give  a  brief  history  of  the  causes,  conditions,  develop- 
ment and  final  perfection  of  them. 

The  historic  title  of  these  lands  had  their  beginning  in  a  dual 
system  of  taxation,  which  resulted  in  a  double  series  of  tax 
titles,  standing  in  some  instances  in  conflict  with  each  other  as 
well  as  in  conflict  with  all  other  titles.  Tax  titles  from  time 
immemorial  have  been  even  in  their  simplest  forms  the  terror 
of  land  owners.  As  every  one  knows,  the  levying  and  collecting 
of  a  tax  upon  land  are  proceedings  in  rem,  and  if  valid  convey 

1 A  biographical  sketch  of  the  writer  of  this  article  will  be  found  in  the 
Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  Vol.  VIII,  p  -507  — 
EDITOR. 

(273) 


274  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

the  original  paramount  title.  The  great  trouble  has  been  to 
secure  valid  proceedings.  The  common  law  rule  required  literal 
and  strict  compliance  with  all  the  tax  proceedings  as  a  requisite 
for  a  tax  sale  to  pass  title  to  land.  An  able  writer  gives  the  fol- 
lowing description  of  the  common  law  tax  title : 

"The  deed  is  not  the  title  itself,  nor  even  evidence  of  it.  Its  recitals 
bind  no  one.  It  creates  no  estoppel  upon  the  former  owner.  No  pre- 
sumption arises  from  the  mere  production  of  the  deed,  that  the  facts 
upon  which  it  is  based  had  any  existence.  When  it  is  shown,  however, 
that  the  ministerial  officers  of  the  law  have  performed  every  duty  which 
the  law  imposed  upon  them,  and  everv  condition  essential  to  its  charac- 
ter, then  the  deed  becomes  conclusive  evidence  of  title  in  the  grantee 
according  to  its  extent  and  purport."2 

To  prove  conformity  to  all  these  requirements  of  the  law  has 
been  found  almost  impossible,  in  most  instances,  thus  causing 
tax  titles  to  fall  into  great  disrepute,  so  much  so  that  the  Supe- 
rior Court  of  New  Hampshire  is  said  to  have  declared  "that  a 
tax  collector's  deed  was  prima  facie  void."3  This  seems  to  have 
been  the  law" in  Mississippi  originally,4  but  before  the  time  that 
our  narrative  begins  statutes  had  been  enacted  in  this  State,5 
as  well  as  in  many  other  States,  which  changed  the  common  law 
rule,  above  stated,  so  as  to  shift  the  burden  of  proof  from  the 
purchaser  to  the  former  owner,  thereby  making  the  tax  deed 
prima  facie  valid  instead  of  prima  facie  void.  These  statutes 
have  often  been  questioned,  but  have  been  repeatedly  upheld.6 

In  view  of  the  general  distrust  and  conceded  precariousness  of 
tax  titles  resulting  from  sales  even  when  made  by  a  single  sov- 
ereign, the  urgent  need  for  repeated  and  continued  legislation 
and  litigation  over  the  tax  titles  of  the  lands  of  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board  will  be  evident  when  it  is  remembered  that  these 
lands  formerly  owed  fealty  to  two  or  more  sovereigns  at  the 
same  time  and  often  forfeited  in  payment  of  same.  The  great 
wonder  is  that  these  titles  have  ever  been  perfected.  Be  it  said 
to  the  credit  of  our  courts  and  legislatures  that  while  continuous 
bodies  might  have  accomplished  the  difficult  task  in  shorter 
time  and  with  less  effort,  yet  it  could  not  have  been  done  more 
effectively. 

2Blackwell's  Tax  Titles,  p.  430. 

3Washburn  on  Real  Property,  p.  225. 

48  Smedes  and  Marshall's  Reports,  p.   197. 

5 Acts  of  1843,  Chapter  i,  Sec.  6. 

'36  Miss.,  p.  692. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade.         275 

The  narrative  divides  itself  into  three  parts,  viz  :  First,  the 
acquisition  of  titles ;  second,  the  fight  for  supremacy ;  and  third, 
the  perfection  of  title. 

The  lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  are  located  in  and 
embrace  the  greater  part  of  the  Yazoo-Mississippi  Delta.  This 
fertile  region  is  bounded  on  the  west  by  the  Mississippi  River, 
and  on  the  east  by  the  foothills  which  approach  the  river  near 
Memphis,  Tenn.,  and  at  Vicksburg,  Miss.,  the  northern  and 
southern  terminal  points.  The  Delta  is  something  more  than 
two  hunderd  miles  long,  with  an  irregular  width  probably  aver- 
aging seventy -five  or  eighty  miles. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  period  of  the  acquisition  of  titles  comes 
the  title  of  the  original  patentees  from  the  government.  All 
these  lands  were  acquired  by  the  United  States  from  the  Indian 
tribes  of  Mississippi,  except  in  a  few  instances  in  which  the  title 
to  small  bodies  was  under  treaties  with  the  Indian  tribes  reserved 
to  individual  Indians.  Before  the  year  1850  individual  settlers 
had  patented  portions  of  this  land  direct  from  the  United  States, 
but  by  far  the  greater  body  of  it  was  still  at  that  time  in  the 
United  States  Government.  By  what  is  known  as  "the  Swamp 
and  Overflowed  Land  Act,"  passed  by  Congress  in  September, 
1850  (chapter  84),  all  of  these  lands  remaining  unsold  by  the 
United  States  were  donated  by  Congress  to  the  State  of  Missis- 
sippi for  the  purpose  of  public  improveemnts.  By  an  Act  of 
the  Legislature  of  the  State  of  Mississippi  approved  March  15, 
1852,  entitled  "An  Act  to  provide  for  the  construction  of  a  levee 
upon  the  Mississippi  River,  for  the  reclamation  of  the  State  and 
school  lands  and  for  other  purposes,"7  the  Secretary  of  State  was 
authorized  and  required  to  offer  for  sale  by  quarter  sections  to 
the  highest  bidder  500,000  acres  of  land  donated  to  the  State  of 
Mississippi  by  the  Congress  of  the  United  States  (Swamp  and 
Overflowed  Land  Act)  for  the  purpose  of  internal  improvements 
at  the  minimum  price  of  two  dollars  per  acre,  in  front  of  the  cap- 
itol  at  Jackson,  Miss.,  the  sale  to  commence  at  eleven  o'clock 
A.  M.,  on  the  third  Monday  in  November,  1852,  and  to  continue 
from  day  to  day  until  all  of  said  lands  to  which  the  State  shall 
then  have  title  shall  be  offered  for  sale.  By  virtue  of  this  Act 
and  its  several  amendments  the  State  sold  and  patented  to  pri- 
1832,  pp.  33  to  41. 


276  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

vate  individuals  much  of  these  lands,  but  by  no  means  all  of  it, 
as  there  was  more  land  to  be  sold  than  there  were  bidders  to  buy 
it.  By  an  Act  of  the  Legislature  of  the  State  of  Mississippi, 
approved  March  2,  1854,  entitled  "An  Act  to  provide  for  the 
further  issue  of  swamp  land  scrip,  for  the  purpose  of  aiding  in 
the  completion  of  the  levees  upon  the  Mississippi  River,"  the 
Secretary  of  State  was  authorized  and  requested  to  issue  on  or 
before  the  first  day  of  April,  1854,  to  the  Presidents  of  the  Boards 
of  Police  of  the  counties  of  DeSoto,  Tunica,  Coahoma,  Bolivar, 
Washington  and  Issequena  to  be  used  for  the  purpose  of  aiding 
in  the  completion  of  levees  in  their  respective  counties,  seven 
hundred  and  twenty  thousand  acres  of  land  scrip,  in  quarter 
sections.  This  scrip  was  issued  and  distributed  to  the  Presi- 
dents of  the  County  Boards  of  the  several  counties  mentioned, 
according  to  the  provisions  of  this  Act.  In  some  instances 
private  individuals  bought  this  scrip  from  the  Boards  of  Police, 
located  claims  by  virtue  of  it  on  certain  of  these  lands,  where- 
upon the  State  patented  the  lands  so  located  to  them.  In  this 
way  it  is  seen  that  further  lands  were  vested  in  private  settlers. 
The  greater  part  of  the  land  scrip  remained,  however,  with  the 
County  Boards  undisposed  of,  and  the  Secretary  of  these  boards, 
on  November  7,  1854,  patented  the  land  so  left  over  from  the 
State  to  himself  for  the  levees  of  his  county. 

By  virtue  of  an  Act  of  the  Legislature  of  the  State  of  Missis- 
sippi, approved  January  25,  1856,  entitled  "An  Act  to  confirm 
the  titles  to  certain  swamp  and  overflowed  lands  located  by 
C.  I.  Field,  Levee  Treasurer  of  Bolivar  County,  and  for  other 
purposes,"8  Christopher  I.  Field,  as  Levee  Treasurer,  sold  by 
warranty  deed  large  tracts  of  this  land  to  individual  purchasers. 
Probably  the  largest  one  of  these  sales  was  the  sale  made  to 
Daniel  Low  and  E.  H.  R.  Lyman,  as  trustees  of  the  Mississippi 
Bottom  Land  Company  of  New  York.  This  sale,  made  on 
November  15,  1856,  conveyed  title  to  120,071  acres  of  land 
lying  in  the  counties  of  Coahoma,  Bolivar,  Sunflower,  Washing- 
ton, Issaquena,  Yazoo,  Holmes  and  Warren. 

It  was  of  the  greatest  importance  to  the  country  that  the  title 
to  these  lands  should  pass  out  from  the  government.  Subjected 
as  they  were  at  that  time  to  frequent  inundation,  they  were  of 

sLaws  nf  1856,  p.  200. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade.          277 

but  little  value  without  levees  to  protect  them.  To  build 
levees  required  considerable  money,  and  this  money  could  be 
best  raised  from  these  lands.  As  long  as  the  title  to  them  was 
in  the  government  they  bore  no  income.  The  levees  realized 
first  from  the  sale  of  the  lands  and  second  from  an  annual  tax 
levied  on  them.  In  order  to  produce  this  income  the  State 
passed  the  laws  above  referred  to,  by  virtue  of  which  the  greater 
portion  of  them  passed  out  from  the  government  to  private 
owners,  and  thus  they  became  revenue-bearing  lands.  So  much 
for  the  title  of  the  patentees.  Let  us  turn  now  to  the  creation 
of  the  levee  boards  and  the  building  of  levees,  where  we  shall 
soon  find  a  new  title  to  these  lands. 

A  review  of  legislation  in  respect  to  levees  enacted  prior  to  the 
year  1858  discloses  the  fact  that  they  had  been  treated  by  the 
Legislature  as  entirely  a  matter  for  the  counties.  The  word 
district,  when  used  in  this  connection,  in  early  statutes,  means 
subdivision  of  a  county,  corresponding  probably  to  what  at  that 
time  was  known  as  the  police  district,  and  now  known  as  super- 
visor's district.  The  matter  was  purely  a  local  one,  no  two 
counties  nor  parts  of  different  counties  were  united  into  a  levee 
district,  and  each  county  was  left  to  create  its  own  districts. 
In  the  several  counties  the  same  general  end  was  sought,  viz. : 
the  protection  of  the  lands  from  inundation.  But  different 
means  were  frequently  employed  in  the  different  counties,  for 
example,  the  system  of  levee  taxation  varied.  These  early 
levee  laws  mark  the  beginning  of  our  present  great  levee  system ; 
and  like  the  beginning  of  all  such  enterprises,  as  well  as  the 
beginning  of  government  itself,  it  was  purely  local,  an  experiment 
on  the  simplest  and  smallest  scale.  But  with  the  levee  system 
it  was  soon  evident  to  all  that  the  districts  must  necessarily  be 
made  larger  so  as  to  include  several  counties  in  one  district. 
The  lower  counties  of  the  Delta  were  at  the  mercy  of  the  upper 
counties,  and  however  much  they  may  have  expended  to  pro- 
tect their  own  river  front,  their  efforts  were  almost  useless  in 
case  of  a  crevasse  farther  up  the  river.  Furthermore,  the  differ- 
ent methods  of  levee  taxation  in  the  different  counties  caused 
lack  of  harmony.  Probably  when  the  work  was  needed  most, 
there  were  no  funds  with  which  to  have  it  done.  There  was  no 
central  representative  body,  and  the  local  bodies  had  no  author- 


278  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

ity  without  their  respective  counties.  It  was  soon  evident  that 
the  county  was  too  small  a  sovereign,  and  that  if  it  remained 
the  unit,  an  authoritative  representative  body  must  be  cre- 
ated to  supervise  the  several  districts. 

To  meet  this  demand  the  Legislature,  in  1858,"  organized  the 
counties  of  Tunica,  Coahoma,  Bolivar,  Washington,  Issaquena, 
and  parts  of  DeSoto,  Panola,  Yazoo,  Sunflower  and  Tallahatchie 
into  one  levee  district.  The  local  levee  authorities  of  the  coun- 
ties, after  June  i ,  1859,  were  to  be  suspended  from  further  author- 
ity to  build  or  repair  levees,  but  they  were  continued  in  office  for 
the  purpose  of  liquidation  until  the  expiration  of  three  years,  at 
which  time  the  general  board  was  to  assume  their  debts  remain- 
ing unpaid.10  It  was  provided,  however,  that  the  Boards  of 
Police  of  Tunica,  Coahoma,  Washington  and  Issaquena  Coun- 
ties might  in  their  discretion,  levy  annually,  in  addition  to  the 
tax  provided  for  the  support  of  the  general  levee  board,  a  tax 
not  to  exceed  twenty -five  cents  per  acre,  on  all  lands  in  their 
respective  counties  subject  to  taxation  under  this  act,  which 
should  constitute  special  local  funds  to  be  used  by  the  county 
authorities  for  levee  purposes  as  they  saw  proper."  To  this 
extent  the  county  levee  boards  were  continued,  but  the  general 
levee  board  soon  eliminated  and  superseded  the  county  levee 
boards. 

The  general  levee  board  was  incorporated  by  the  Act  of  i8s812 
under  the  style  of  "The  Levee  Commissioners,"  and  was  com- 
posed of  one  member  from  each  of  the  counties  of  the  general 
levee  district.  A  uniform  tax  of  ten  cents  an  acre  per  annum 
was  levied  in  April  from  1859  to  1863,  inclusive,  on  each  and 
every  acre  of  land  in  the  district,  except  lands  held  by  the  State, 
and  school  lands,  and  Chickasaw  school  lands,  while  held  in 
trust  by  the  State.  Lands  in  DeSoto  and  Panola  Counties 
outside  of  the  overflowed  district,  were  also  excepted  from  this 
tax.  The  sheriffs  of  Tunica,  Coahoma,  Bolivar,  Washington 
and  Issaquena  Counties  were  required  to  pay  the  taxes  collected 
under  this  Act  for  the  first  three  years  over  to  the  persons  then 
by  law  authorized  to  receive  the  same  in  said  counties  respect- 

9 Acts  1858,  p.  33. 
!» Ibid,  Sec.  16. 
"Ibid,  Sec.  21. 
12 Ibid,  p.  33. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade.         279 

ively,  while  the  sheriffs  of  the  other  counties  of  the  district  were 
required  to  pay  this  tax  collected  by  them  over  to  the  treasurer 
of  the  Levee  Commissioners.  During  these  three  years  the 
levee  taxes  in  these  five  counties  were  to  be  applied  to  the  liqui- 
dation of  the  debts  theretofore  incurred  by  the  levee  authori- 
ites  of  such  counties  respectively,  under  the  local  boards  of  the 
counties.  After  the  lapse  of  three  years  this  tax  from  all  the 
counties  was  to  be  paid  by  the  sheriffs  of  the  counties  direct  to 
the  Treasurer  of  the  Levee  Commissioners,  in  whose  hands  it 
was  to  become  a  consolidated  fund.18  The  taxes  levied  were 
declared  to  be  a  lien  on  the  lands,  with  power  in  the  sheriffs  to 
sell  the  lands  for  non-payment  of  such  taxes,  and  with  power  in 
the  Treasurer  of  the  Levee  Commissioners  to  buy  them  in  for 
the  said  Levee  Commissioners.  These  in  brief  are  the  provisions 
for  raising  income  to  carry  on  the  building  and  repairing  of 
levees  by  the  Levee  Commissioners.  But  better  levees  were 
an  immediate  necessity,  and  funds  from  taxation  would  come 
into  their  hands  at  too  slow  a  rate.  To  obviate  this  delay  the 
Levee  Commissioners  were  authorized  to  issue  levee  scrip,  pay- 
able not  later  than  January  i,  1863,  to  an  amount  not  to  exceed 
a  half  million  dollars,  bearing  a  maximum  interest  of  eight  per 
cent.  The  consolidated  fund,  from  taxes  and  incomes  from  the 
sale  of  those  lands,  which  were  still  the  property  of  the  levee 
board,  as  well  as  such  lands  as  were  forfeited  to  the  Levee  Com- 
missioners for  the  non-payment  of  levee  taxes  was  to  be  used 
for  the  redemption  of  this  indebtedness.  * 4 

The  Board  of  Levee  Commissioners  was  vested  by  the  statute 
creating  it  with  power  to  sell  the  land  upon  which  the  levee  tax 
was  due  and  unpaid,  and  the  treasurer  was  authorized  to  buy 
in  all  such  lands  in  case  there  was  no  one  bidding  the  amount 
of  the  taxes.  Considerable  land  was  forfeited  to  the  board  for 
non-payment  of  taxes,  in  1860  to  Isaac  S.  Robinson  as  treasurer, 
and  in  1861  to  Christopher  I.  Field  as  treasurer.  These  for- 
feited lands  were  held  by  the  board  subject  to  redemption. 
Private  individuals  often  bought  at  these  sales,  acquiring  tax 
titles.  Thus  it  will  be  seen  that  before  the  war  between  the 
States  there  had  begun  this  double  system  of  tax  titles,  but  the 

18 Ibid,  Sec.  2. 
"Ibid,  Sec.  14. 


280  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

person  to  whom  a  tax  deed  was  made  in  satisfaction  of  taxes 
due  the  State  had  the  better  title,  as  no  lands  subject  to  a  levee 
tax  was  at  that  time  exempt  from  State  and  county  taxes. 
Only  a  small  proportion  of  the  land  was  forfeited  in  those  days 
of  prosperity,  and  in  most  instances  of  forfeiture  the  lands  were 
redeemed  during  the  period  of  limitation,  so  there  seems  to 
have  been  but  little  if  any  conflict  between  holders  of  adverse 
titles. 

Under  the  management  of  the  Levee  Commissioners  the  work 
of  building  levees  took  on  new  life.  The  Honorable  James  L. 
Alcorn,  afterwards  Governor  of  the  State,  was  president  of  the 
commission.  His  reports  to  the  Legislature  are  full  of  interest, 
and  throw  a  flood  of  light  on  the  levee  legislation  of  the  period 
from  1858  to  i869.15  As  a  result  of  these  reports  the  statute 
approved  February  10,  1860, le  extended  the  levee  tax  until 
April  i,  1865,  and  authorized  the  Levee  Commissioners  to  sub- 
stitute their  scrip  for  outstanding  levee  scrip  of  the  several 
counties.  This  Act  further  provided  for  the  collection  annually 
of  the  State  and  county  taxes  due  on  lands  held  by  the  Levee 
Commissioners . 

By  the  year  1860  there  had  been  developed  an  efficient  sys- 
tem of  levee  construction.  A  considerable  amount  of  levee  had 
been  built  and  much  more  was  in  process  of  construction.  In  a 
short  time  the  Delta  would  have  been  protected  from  the  much 
dreaded  inundations  of  the  "Father  of  Waters,"  and  the  fertile 
country  placed  in  position  to  develop  its  resources.  But  in 
1 86 1  the  war  began.  It  lasted  four  years  and  devastated  the 
country ,  leaving  the  levee  system  in  much  worse  condition  than 
it  was  in  at  its  beginning.  The  revenues  of  the  Levee  Commis- 
sioners were  soon  cut  off.  A  number  of  suspension  statutes 
were  enacted  by  the  State  Legislature.  The  first  of  these  was 
the  Act  of  August  6,  1861,"  which  suspended  the  collection  of 
the  ten  cent  tax  imposed  by  the  statutes  of  1858  and  1860 
until  the  first  Monday  in  April  (the  beginning  of  the  levee  fiscal 
year)  next  after  the  termination  of  the  war,  and  provided  that 
such  taxes,  after  the  war,  should  be  collected  for  the  same  num- 
ber of  years  they  had  to  run  when  suspended,  those  imposed  by 

^Mississippi  Senate  Journal  for  1859,  Appendix,  pp.  366,  393  and  450. 
1KLaws  of  1859  and  1860,  p.  452. 

1861,  Called  Session,  p.   68. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Eoard.^-Wade.         281 

the  Act  of  1858  to  be  collected  before  those  imposed  by  the 
Act  of  1860.  The  Act  of  December  20,  1861,"  suspended  col- 
lection of  all  State  and  county  taxes  for  the  current  year  upon 
any  lands  owned  by  the  Levee  Commissioners  or  the  treasurers 
of  any  of  the  County  Levee  Boards  until  the  meeting  of  the  next 
regular  session  of  the  Legislature,  unless  previously  sold  or 
redeemed.  The  Act  of  January  25,  1862.  '•  imposed  interest  upon 
the  postponed  levee  taxes,  to  be  paid  when  the  taxes  should  be 
collected.  By  the  Act  of  November  25,  1863 ,20  all  Acts  or  parts 
of  Acts  authorizing  the  Boards  of  Police  to  collect  a  levee  tax 
were  suspended  without  prejudice  to  the  claims  of  any  one  until 
such  time  as  the  Legislature  may  regard  proper  that  the  collec- 
tion of  the  levee  taxes  may  be  resumed.  After  the  war  the  latter 
tax  was  postponed  indefinitely,  the  Legislature  never  finding  a 
"proper  time"  to  revive  it.  The  taxes  provided  for  by  the  Act 
of  1858,  to  be  collected  for  the  years  1862  and  1863,  and  those 
provided  by  the  amendatory  Act  of  1860,  collectible  for  the 
years  1864  and  1865,  were  by  the  suspension  Acts  revived  April 
i,  1865,  only  to  be  further  suspended  until  1868  and  iSyi.21 

The  general  levee  board  of  1858,  known  as  the  Levee  Com- 
missioners, went  out  of  existence  with  its  suspension  made  at 
the  outbreak  of  the  war,  the  Legislature  having  suspended  it 
during  the  war  and  failing  to  revive  it  after  the  end  of  the  war. 
All  the  foregoing  is  in  its  nature  preliminary;  we  come  now 
to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  proper.  This  board  was  cre- 
ated by  an  Act  passed  February  i,  i86y.22  It  was  never  in  tended 
to  build  or  repair  levees,  but  became  a  law  for  the  express  pur- 
pose of  liquidating  the  outstanding  liabilities  of  the  general 
levee  board,  or  Levee  Commissioners,  incurred  by  authority  of 
the  Act  of  December  2,  1858,  and  Acts  amendatory  thereto. 
The  war  coming  on  in  1861,  the  levee  board  found  that  its  work 
in  building  levees  was  suddenly  interrupted,  and  that  it  was 
heavily  in  debt.  Its  debts,  direct  and  indirect,  under  the  Act 
of  1858,  and  amendments,  the  interest  on  which  was  about  fifty 
per  cent  of  their  face  value,  amounted,  in  1867,  to  $1,500,000. 

18  Laws  of  1 86 1-2,  p.   146. 
"Lajw  1861— 2,  p.  224. 
-OLawx  1863,  p.  138. 
2  *  40  Miss. ,  6 1 1 . 
--Acts  1866-7,  P-  237- 


282  .Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

These  debts  were  long  past  due  and  were  a  heavy  charge  upon 
the  lands.  In  fact,  much  of  the  land,  unprotected  by  levees  and 
exposed  to  constant  and  continuous  overflows,  was  not  worth 
the  charge  then  upon  it.  Property  was  devastated  by  the 
war  and  money  was  extremely  scarce.  Without  some  legisla- 
tion these  old  debts  stood  a  poor  show  of  ever  being  paid.  To 
remedy  these  conditions  and  to  provide  a  safer  way  for  the  pay- 
ment of  this  indebtedness  the  Act  of  February  13,  1867,  was 
passed. 

This  Act  provided  that  the  Governor  should  appoint  a  board 
of  three  commissioners,  to  be  styled  the  Board  of  Commission- 
ers to  liquidate  outstanding  liabilities.  The  first  meeting  of 
this  board  was  to  be  held  on  the  first  Monday  in  March,  1867, 
when  they  were  to  organize  by  electing  a  president,  secretary 
and  treasurer.  They  were  required  to  pass  at  the  first  meeting 
an  order  requiring  all  persons  who  had  claims  alleged  to  be  due, 
the  payment  of  which  was  provided  for  by  the  Act,  to  present 
them  to  the  secretary  of  the  board  on  or  before  June  i,  1867,  to 
have  them  registered ;  and  all  claims  not  so  presented  were  to  be 
excluded  from  the  benefits  of  the  Act.  The  secretary  was  to 
register,  in  books  kept  for  the  purpose,  each  claim  presented, 
with  the  name  of  the  person  presenting  it,  and  the  person  claim- 
ing to  be  its  owner,  and  to  endorse  on  it  the  time  at  which  pre- 
sented. The  board  was  required  to  examine  all  claims  so  reg- 
istered by  the  secretary,  and  to  mark  on  them  their  approval  or 
disapproval.  Only  the  owners  of  claims  so  approved  by  the 
Board  were  to  be  entitled  to  the  benefits  of  the  Act. 

In  order  that  a  bondholder  might  claim  the  privileges  of  this 
statute  some  concessions  had  to  be  made  on  his  part.  He  was 
required  to  surrender  his  claim  to  the  board  to  be  cancelled,  to 
remit  all  accrued  interest  prior  to  June  i,  1867,  and  to  accept 
in  lieu  thereof  the  bonds  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  for 
the  face  value  of  his  claim,  less  interest.  The  remission  of  the 
accrued  interest  saved  the  board  several  hundred  thousand  dol- 
lars. The  bonds  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  issued  in  pay- 
ment of  these  debts  of  the  old  levee  boards,  were  payable  in 
five  equal  annual  installments,  with  interest  at  the  rate  of  five 
per  cent  per  annum  from  June  i,  1867,  until  paid.  The  bond- 
holder was  required  on  receiving  the  bonds  to  supply  the 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade.         283 

stamp  required  by  the  United  States  revenue  laws.  It  may 
be  suggested  that  these  conditions  required  a  surrender  of  about 
one- third  or  one-half  of  the  amount  due,  and  to  that  extent 
was  confiscation;  but  it  must  be  remembered  that  it  was  op- 
tional with  the  bondholder  whether  he  would  take  advantage 
of  the  statute.  In  case  he  saw  fit  not  to  accept  its  terms  he 
was  left  to  his  original  remedy,  just  as  if  the  statute  was  not  in 
force.  No  part  of  the  indebtedness  was  by  the  terms  of  the  Act 
repudiated,  but  the  bondholders  only  given  an  opportunity  to 
release  their  accrued  interest  in  consideration  of  better  securing 
their  principal.  The  creditors  of  the  general  levee  board,  with 
few  exceptions,  accepted  the  terms  of  the  statute,  surrendered 
their  evidences  of  debt,  and  took  the  bonds  of  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board  in  lieu  thereof.  The  presentation  of  these  bonds 
was  suitably  provided  for,  and  the  treasurer  of  the  board,  who 
received  the  money  collected,  was  with  it  to  pay  them,  as  well 
as  salaries  and  expenses.  Two  sources  of  revenue  were  pro- 
vided. First,  a  uniform  tax  of  five  cents  an  acre  in  some  coun- 
ties of  the  district,  and  of  three  cents  an  acre  in  the  others,  was 
levied  and  made  payable  on  the  first  of  May,  each  year.  This 
tax,  it  was  stipulated,  should  continue  until  a  sufficient  sum 
was  collected  with  which  to  pay  off  all  the  debts  and  liabilities 
contracted  or  assumed,  and  all  the  scrip  or  evidences  of  debt 
issued  by  the  Board  of  Levee  Commissioners,  organized  under 
the  Act  approved  December  2,  1858,  and  it  was  declared  to  be 
a  tax  in  rent  upon  the  lands.  In  the  second  place,  revenue  was 
to  be  derived  from  the  sale  of  lands.  The  statute  authorizing 
the  board  to  receive  and  sell  all  the  property  of  the  Levee  Com- 
missioners under  the  Act  of  1858.  The  tax  on  land  to  be  levied 
for  this  board  as  authorized  by  the  Act,  if  not  paid  annually  by 
May  rst,  would  be  in  default,  and  would  subject  the  land  for 
sale  for  these  taxes,  whether  the  owner  had  personalty  or  not. 
From  the  sheriffs  of  the  counties  within  the  district,  special 
bonds  were  required,  and  the  proceedings  of  sale,  forfeiture,  and 
redemption  were  to  be  the  same  as  those  prescribed  by  the  Act 
of  1858.  Lands  forfeited  to  the  board  for  taxes  and  not  re- 
deemed could  also  be  sold  by  the  board.  All  proceeds  from  all 
sources  were  to  be  applied  toward  liquidating  the  bonds,  and 
the  surplus  funds  were  to  be  used  to  buy  outstanding  bonds. 


284  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

After  the  payment  of  all  the  bonds,  the  money,  lands  and  other 
property  belonging  to  the  board  were  to  be  applied  to  such 
uses  as  the  Legislature  might  direct. 

After  all  demands  not  presented  had  become  barred  by  the 
terms  of  the  statute, on  May  13,  1871, 2S  the  legislature  extended 
the  time  for  presenting  claims  until  the  second  Monday  in  No- 
vember, 1871,  provided  that  the  bonds  issued  for  those  then 
presented  should  be  designated  "new  series";  and  continued 
the  tax,  as  well  for  the  payment  of  the  new  series  as  the  old. 
All  unpaid  bonds,  whether  due  or  not,  were  made  receivable 
for  levee  taxes  due  or  to  become  due  under  said  Acts;  and  the 
Governor  was  authorized  to  appoint  one  commissioner  who  suc- 
ceeded to  the  powers,  rights,  and  privileges  of  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board,  and  was  substituted  in  their  stead. 

Such  in  brief  is  the  statute  creating  the  Liquidating  Levee 
Board,  probably  the  most  legislated  and  litigated  statute  that 
Mississippi  has  ever  known.  It  furnishes  the  foundation  of 
almost  every  land  title  in  the  Yazoo-Mississippi  Delta,  and  here 
it  is  well  to  turn  aside  for  the  present  from  further  discussion  of 
statutes  for  a  brief  notice  of  the  land  forfeitures  to  this  mem- 
orable board. 

But  few  land  owners  made  any  attempt  to  pay  the  liquidating 
levee  tax,  and  the  number  of  bidders  at  tax  sales  was  even 
smaller.  The  second  Monday  in  May  each  year  witnessed  only 
formal  forfeitures  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.  In  some 
counties  no  sales  were  made  for  the  first  year  or  two.  In  Sun- 
flower County,  for  example,  the  lands  were  sold  in  May,  1870, 
for  the  delinquent  liquidating  levee  taxes  for  the  years  1867, 
1868,  and  1869,  more  than  four  hundred  sales  being  made  at 
this  time,  conveying  more  than  nine-tenths  of  the  taxable  lands 
of  the  county  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.  Only  about  a 
dozen  sales  were  made  a  year  later  for  the  liquidating  levee 
taxes  for  the  year  1870,  and-  as  there  was  no  more  land  in  the 
county  to  be  sold  there  were  no  more  sales  for  this  tax  later 
than  the  year  1871.  Printed  deed  records  were  provided  for 
each  county,  and  by  filling  into  these  blank  records  a  description 
of  the  land  conveyed,  some  names  and  dates,  the  evidence  is 
perpetuated  of  the  almost  universal  confiscation  to  the  Liqui- 

23Lau.'s  1871,  p.  57. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          285 

dating  Levee  Board  of  the  lands  of  the  Delta,  and  upon  this 
deed  record  depends  almost  all  of  its  present  land  titles. 

Although  it  is  not  the  purpose  of  this  article  to  give  a  history 
of  the  several  levee  boards,  it  will  be  necessary  in  tracing  the 
title  of  the  lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  to  notice 
somewhat  these  other  boards,  because  of  conflicting  titles  be- 
tween them  and  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.  The  first  to 
be  noticed  in  this  connection  is  the  levee  board  of  Bolivar, 
Washington  and  Issequena  Counties,  commonly  called  the 
"Ten  Cent  Levee  Board."  It  has  already  been  seen  that  the 
general  levee  board  of  1858  (Board  of  Levee  Commissioners) 
was  suspended  during  the  war,  and  that  this  board  was  never 
reorganized,  but  passed  out  of  existence  with  this  suspension. 
Levees  for  counties  bordering  on  the  Mississippi  River  were  an 
absolute  necessity,  so  in  the  absence  of  a  general  levee  board, 
the  Legislature  by  an  Act  passed  November  27,  i865,24  incor- 
porated this  local  board,  known  as  the  Ten  Cent  Levee  Board. 
This  Act  authorized  a  uniform  tax  of  ten  cents  per  acre  upon  all 
the  lands  in  said  counties  (with  certain  exceptions)  payable 
on  or  before  March  ist,  annually,  from  1867  to  1879,  inclusive. 
This  tax  was  made  a  lien  on  said  lands,  and  in  case  of  failure  to 
pay  the  same,  it  was  provided  that  the  sheriff  should,  on  the 
first  Monday  in  April  each  year,  sell  the  land  in  default.  If 
the  amount  due  on  any  tract  should  not  be  bid,  then  the  same 
should  be  struck  off  and  a  deed  executed  to  the  treasurer  of  this 
levee  board.  In  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  this  Act, 
large  tracts  of  land  in  these  counties  were  soon  forfeited  to  the 
treasurer  of  the  Ten  Cent  Levee  Board  in  payment  of  default 
taxes  due  said  levee  board.  These  same  lands  were  frequently 
forfeited  for  non-payment  of  taxes,  either  to  the  State  or  to  the 
Liquidating  Levee  Board,  or  to  both.  One  or  more  of  these 
forfeitures  often  conveyed  no  title,  as  all  subsequent  forfeitures 
either  to  the  State  or  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  after  a 
valid  forfeiture  to  the  Ten  Cent  Levee  Board,  and  prior  to  a 
redemption  or  purchase  from  said  board,  were  void  and  con- 
veyed no  title.26  By  Act  of  April  n,  1876,  the  title  of  the  Ten 
Cent  Levee  Board  was  transferred  to  the  State.28 

2iLaws  of  1872,  p.  217. 

25  73  \fiss..  494. 

2SLaws  1876,  p.  166,  and  69  Miss.,  p.  541. 


286  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

But  the  Ten  Cent  Levee  Board  was  authorized  to  protect  only 
a  part  of  the  river  front,  and  concentrated  all  its  efforts  in  levee 
construction  for  its  district  only,  so  there  remained  a  great  por- 
tion of  the  river  front  still  unprotected  from  overflows.  To 
meet  this  demand  the  Legislature,  by  an  Act  approved  March 
17,  1871, 27  incorporated  what  is  known  as  the  "Levee  Board  of 
the  State  of  Mississippi,  District  Number  One,"  embracing  the 
counties  of  Tunica,  Coahoma,  Tallahatchie,  Panola  and  De- 
Soto.  Levee  District  Number  One  was  supplementary  to  the 
Ten  Cent  Levee  Board,  the  two  embracing  different  territory, 
and  together  covering  the  entire  Delta  front.  The  statute  cre- 
ating Levee  District  Number  One  levied  a  tax  of  two  per  cent 
per  annum  on  the  value  of  every  acre  of  land  in  said  district 
for  the  period  of  twelve  years.28  Provisions  were  also  made  for 
the  collection  of  this  tax,  including  sale  and  forfeiture  in  cases 
of  default.  Again,  the  taxes  were  often  not  paid,  and  for  want 
of  purchasers  at  tax  sales  forfeited  to  this  board  for  taxes. 
These  forfeited  lands  were  held  by  the  board  chargeable  with 
State  and  county  taxes,  the  collection  alone  of  which  was  sus- 
pended during  the  board's  holding  the  land,  and  also  chargeable 
with  liquidating  levee  taxes,  accrued  and  to  accrue,  which  had 
to  be  paid  by  the  Levee  Board  of  District  Number  One,  there 
being  no  suspension  of  collection.29 

Add  to  the  foregoing  list  of  conflicting  titles  sales  made  by  tax 
collectors  for  non-payment  of  State  and  county  taxes  to  pur- 
chasers and  forfeitures  to  the  State  for  default  taxes,  and  the 
list  of  land  titles  of  the  Delta  is  about  complete. 

The  Liquidating  Levee  Board  enjoyed  certain  privileges  in 
the  way  of  taxation  over  all  other  levee  boards.  Its  lands  were 
exempt  from  all  taxes — State,  county  and  levee.30  The  lands 
of  the  other  levee  boards  were  obliged  to  pay  all  State  and  county 
taxes,  and  also  the  tax  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  while 
lands  forfeited  either  to  the  State  or  to  the  Liquidating  Levee 
Board  were  exempt  from  all  taxes  until  they  were  redeemed 
and  again  became  revenue  bearing.  Most  of  the  land  soon 
sank  into  one  of  these  non-taxable  classes.  While  in  theory 

27 Laws  1871,  p.  37. 
2 "Ibid,  Sec.  8. 
28 77  Miss.,  p.  68. 
*°Acts  1865,  Sec.  13. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          287 

it  was  impossible  for  land  to  belong  to  both  of  these  non-taxable 
classes  at  the  same  time,  yet  so  complicated  was  the  system  of 
tax  forfeitures  that  the  State  and  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board 
often  laid  claim  to  the  same  land  at  the  same  time,  and  no  one 
knew  which  had  the  better  title. 

It  may  be  asked,  Why  did  not  the  owners  of  these  lands  pay 
their  taxes,  and  thus  prevent  these  repeated  forfeitures?  But 
it  must  be  remembered  that  the  war  left  the  country  poverty 
stricken.  Besides,  the  extravagant  rule  of  ignorant  negroes 
and  ignominious  carpetbaggers  during  the  period  of  reconstruc- 
tion would  have  bankrupted  the  richest  people  on  earth.  Little 
effort  was  made  by  those  in  authority  to  bring  about  better 
industrial  conditions,  but  rather  they  held  the  State  up  with 
high  handed  extravagance  and  misrule  to  bleed  her  already 
thin  and  emaciated  frame.  The  rate  of  taxation  was  so  high 
till  lands  became  more  of  a  burden  than  a  benefit.  Often  land 
owners  could  not  have  sold  their  lands  for  enough  money  to 
pay  one  year's  taxes.  Nearly  all  the  lands  of  the  State  were 
forfeited,  or  rather  were  confiscated,  for  taxes.  When  there 
was  no  longer  any  re  venue -bearing  property  in  the  State,  our 
Northern  exploiters  left  us,  escaping  in  many  instances  under 
cover  of  night  with  every  valuable  thing  they  could  lay  hands 
on  and  carry  with  them.  The  wonder  is  not  that  the  lands 
were  forfeited,  but  that  they  were  so  quickly  redeemed. 

The  foregoing  briefly  disposes  of  the  several  sources  of  titles, 
and  we  come  now  to  the  contest  for  supremacy,  the  battle  of 
titles.  While  it  would  probably  be  incorrect  to  say  that  all 
other  land  titles  made  common  cause  and  fought  in  the  same 
army  against  the  title  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  yet 
each  title  in  its  turn  battled  against  the  title  of  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board,  and  as  this  title  must  bear  the  brunt  of-  the  fight, 
it  is  well  here  to  examine  its  strong  and  weak  points. 

The  Legislature  probably  did  not  realize  the  full  force  of  the 
enactment  creating  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.  We  have 
already  seen  that  this  statute  was  a  proposition  made  on  the 
part  of  the  State  to  the  bondholders  of  the  General  Board  of 
Levee  Commissioners  granting  to  them  certain  privileges  upon 
the  concession  on  the  part  of  the  bondholders  of  certain  of  their 
rights,  and  that  the  bondholders  generally  accepted  that  propo- 


288  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

sition.  Once  accepted  it  became  a  contract  completely  execui.ed, 
and  the  courts  have  held  invariably  that  all  subsequent  legis- 
lation in  material  derogation  of  its  terms  enacted  during  the 
life  of  the  contract  was  unconstitutional  and  void,  being  in 
direct  conflict  with  the  constitutional  provision  forbidding  the 
impairment  of  the  obligation  of  contracts.  This  was  the  Gi- 
bralta  of  the  title  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  the  strength 
of  which  will  be  seen  more  fully  as  we  proceed. 

What  were  the  weak  points  in  the  title  of  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board?  What  are  the  weak  points  in  any  tax  title? 
The  failure  of  the  officers  to  make  substantial  compliance  with 
the  law.  Sales  for  liquidating  levee  taxes  were  not  made  upon 
any  assessment  of  the  lands.  The  tax  was  an  acreage  tax, 
recurring  annually,  and  imposed  by  a  general  law.  Neither 
the  assessor  nor  the  county  board  had  anything  to  do  with 
this  tax,  so  there  is  nothing  to  be  feared  from  irregularities  in 
the  assessment,  equalization  or  certification  of  this  tax.  The 
only  objections  that  could  ever  be  made  to  these  tax  sales, 
where  the  land  was  liable  for  the  tax,  must  be  based  upon  one 
or  more  of  the  following  grounds:  (i)  That  the  tax  collector 
had  not  given  bond  prescribed  by  the  Acts  of  1858  and  i86i,31  as 
collector  of  these  taxes ;  (2)  that  the  lands  were  not  sold  on  the 
proper  day;  (3)  that  they  were  not  sold  at  the  proper  place; 
(4)  that  they  were  not  sold  in  the  proper  legal  subdivisions  or 
multiples  thereof;  (5)  that  they  were  not  sold  annually  for  the 
taxes  of  single  years ;  (6)  that  the  officers  failed  to  make  proper 
deeds  conveying  the  land  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board;  and 
(7)  that,  as  many  of  these  original  deeds  have  been  lost,  the 
clerk  failed  to  properly  file  and  record  these  deeds.  Probably 
there  was  not  one  sale  free  from  all  the  seven  objections  above 
enumerated,  and  against  the  great  majority  of  the  sales  the 
most  if  not  all  these  objections  would  be  well  taken. 

The  first  battle  waged  against  the  title  of  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board  was  waged  by  those  claiming  under  the  original 
government  patentees,  or  in  other  words,  those  from  whom  the 
land  was  forfeited.  Gen.  James  Z.  George  led  the  first  charge. 
Certain  of  his  lands  had  been  sold  in  1870  by  J.  E.  Johnson, 
tax  collector  of  Sunflower  County,  to  the  Liquidating  Levee 

3lLaws  1858,  p.  33,  and  Laws  1867,  p.  237. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          289 

Board  for  default  taxes.  On  June  21,  1871,  General  George 
filed  his  bill  in  chancery  court  against  W.  H.  Vasser,  Liquidat- 
ing Levee  Commissioner,  praying  that  the  title  of  the  Liquidat- 
ing Levee  Board  acquired  under  the  tax  sale  of  1870  be  can- 
celed, and  from  a  decree  in  his  favor,  Vasser,  Commissioner, 
appealed.  The  decree  in  the  lower  court  was  sustained.  The 
Supreme  Court  held  in  this  case:  (i)  That  the  lands  delinquent 
for  liquidating  levee  taxes  were  required  to  be  sold  at  a  desig- 
nated day  in  the  year,  and  on  no  other;  (2)  and  at  the  place 
appointed,  and  no  other ;  (3)  that  the  lands  sold  for  taxes  should 
first  be  offered  in  lots  of  forty  acres,  and  (4)  that  there  was  no 
authority  in  the  tax  collector  to  sell  unless  he  had  given  bond 
as  levee  tax  collector.*2  In  other  words,  the  title  of  the  Liqui- 
dating Levee  Board  was  completely  routed,  and  its  fatal  weak- 
nesses shown  up  to  the  public. 

This  decision  seems  to  have  lulled  the  taxpayers  into  peaceful 
repose.  The  tax  collector  had  been  taking  for  taxes  all  that 
the  taxpayers  could  make  above  a  bare  living.  Their  lands 
had  gone  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  and  was  exempt 
from  all  taxes  They  still  occupied  these  lands,  and  as  the  tax 
title  was  void,  could  recover  their  former  title  whenever  they 
so  desired ;  but  why  hasten  to  recover  it  and  pay  taxes  again  ? 
They  had  found,  as  they  thought,  a  real  benefit  in  the  "dead 
hand"  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. 

But  the  taxpayer's  repose  proved  fatal  to  his  title.  Further 
litigation  was  in  the  very  nature  of  things  unavoidable,  and  the 
holders  of  the  title  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  sprang  a 
new  weapon  of  defense.  By  an  Act  of  the  Legislature  approved 
February  10,  1860, ss  it  was,  among  other  things,  declared  "that 
all  sales  of  lands  hereafter  made  for  non-payment  of  taxes 
due  under  any  law  of  this  State,  shall  be  valid  to  all  intents 
and  purposes,  said  land  subject  to  redemption  as  provided  by 
law,  and  that  no  such  sale  shall  be  impeached  or  questioned  in 
any  manner  or  for  any  cause,  saving  fraud  or  mistake  in  the 
assessment  or  sale  of  same,  and  no  suit  to  set  aside  any  title 
acquired  under  any  such  sale  hereafter  to  be  made,  shall  be 
brought  unless  within  five  years  from  the  date  of  sale."  The 

3247  Miss.,  713. 

3s.\cts  1859-60,  Sec.  8,  p.  213. 

10 


290  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Supreme  Court  of  the  State  in  construing  this  Act  at  different 
times  has  held:  (i)  That  it  is  a  legitimate  exercise  of  legislative 
power  and  discretion;34  (2)  that  it  applied  to  tax  sales  for  levee 
taxes  as  well  as  to  sales  under  the  general  revenue  laws  of  the 
State;35  (3)  that  the  failure  of  the  officer  to  give  bond  as  levee 
tax  collector  was  cured  by  operation  of  this  law,  after  a  lapse  of 
five  years  from  the  day  of  sale  ;36  (4)  that  the  sale  was  not  made 
at  the  door  of  the  courthouse  was  likewise  cured;37  (5)  also,  that 
the  land  was  not  offered  in  the  smallest  legal  subdivisions,  but 
was  sold  as  one  tract,  was  cured,88  and  (6)  generally,  that  the 
lapse  of  time  under  the  operation  of  this  statute  cured  all  defects 
in  tax  proceedings,  except  those  controlled  by  constitutional 
provision.39  To  quote  the  language  of  the  court:  "The  statute 
existed  as  part  of  the  revenue  laws  of  the  State,  and  its  declara- 
tion was  an  admonition  to  those  owning  property  subject  to 
taxation,  and  an  assurance  to  those  who  should  become  pur- 
chasers at  tax  sales,  after  the  lapse  of  a  certain  time  from  the 
sale  for  taxes,  all  those  requirements  imposed  by  the  Legislature 
should  be  read  as  directory  and  not  as  mandatory  laws,  and  that 
no  failure  to  conform  thereto  should  be  held  to  invalidate  the 
title  of  the  purchaser."4  Again,  "the  provision  as  to  future 
sales  was  intended  to  be,  and  was,  an  irrevocable  and  irre- 
peachable  stipulation  that  after  a  lapse  of  the  time  named,  no 
assailment  of  the  title  should  be  made.  It  was,  and  was  intended 
to  be,  a  part  of  the  contract  into  which  the  purchaser  would 
enter;  an  inherent,  continuing  element  of  right,  secured,  run- 
ning with  the  land,  and  a  perpetual  security  of  the  title."4  * 

Thus  was  settled  this  embarrassing  condition  All  the  defects 
as  pointed  out  herein,  in  the  title  of  the  Liquidating  Levee 
Board,  were  matters  that  rested  within  the  legislative  will. 
Although  a  failure  in  any  respect  to  comply  with  the  directions 
of  the  law  might  have  avoided  the  tax  sales,  if  seasonably 
assailed,  the  lapse  of  five  years  from  the  date  of  sale,  under  the 


34 47  Miss.  613. 

3562  Miss.  433,  66  Miss.,  68,  and  66  Miss.,  522. 

3Cf>9  Miss.  384. 

37 66  Miss.  522. 

3  s  Ibid. 

3962  Miss.  433,  and  66  Miss.,  522. 

4  "67  Miss.  433. 
4166  Miss.  522. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.  —  Wade          291 

decisions  already  referred  to,  rendered  the  title  of  purchasers 
at  such  tax  sales  free  from  attack. 

Thus  it  appears  that  so  far  as  the  original  patentees  and  their 
privies,   the    Liquidating   Levee    Board   title    was   paramount. 
However,  some  years  later,  this  board  met  its  biggest  contest, 
this  time  in  the  United  States  Court.     William  G.  Ford  and 
Louis  P.  Levy,  two  lawyers  of  New  York  City,  filed,  on  Feb- 
ruary 27,  1889,  a  bill  in  equity  in  the  Circuit  Court  of  the  United 
States  for  the  Southern  District  of  Mississippi  claiming  title  to 
more  than  two  hundred  large  tracts  of  land  situated  in  nine 
different  counties,  and  praying  that  their  claim  be  quieted  by 
cancelling  the  adverse  claim  of  the  defendants,  in  whom  was 
vested  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  title.     The  complainants 
were  represented  by  three  of  Mississippi's  ablest  lawyers,  A.  H. 
Whitfield,  Edward  Mayes  and  W.  V.  Sullivan  to  whom  was  given 
as  a  fee  a  deed  to  one-fifth  interest  in  the  following  lands:   in 
Leflore   County,   9,320  acres;    in  Tallahatchie   County,    15,760 
acres;    in  Quitman  County,  37,700  acres;    in  Sharkey  County, 
36,720  acres;    in  Bolivar  County,  38,840  acres;    in  Sunflower 
County,    30,600  acres;    in    Coahoma  County,  13,520  acres;    in 
Washington  County,   16,000  acres;    in  Yazoo  County,   18,440 
acres;   in  Issaquena  County,  16,360  acres;   amounting  in  all  to 
235,660  acres.     Complainants  claimed  not  only  through  patents 
from  the  United  States  and  from  the  State  of  Mississippi,  but 
claimed  also  that  their  lands  were  exempt  from  taxation  at  the 
time  that  it  was  sold  for  taxes,  it  then  being  the  property  of 
the  Selma,  Marion  &  Memphis  Railroad  Company.     This  com- 
pany,  originally  known  as  the   Memphis,   Holly  Springs  and 
Mobile  Railroad  Company,  was  chartered  by  an  Act  of  the  Legis- 
lature of  the  State,  approved  November  23,  1859.  42     Section  19 
of  this  Act  exempted  all  the  property  of  said  company  from 
taxation   until   said   railroad   company   should   be   completed. 
The  war  interfering  with  the  construction  of  the  railroad,  on 
February  20,  1867,"  a  statute  was  passed  reviving  the  corpora- 
tion.    A  further  statute  was  passed  July  21,  1870,  ««  which  pro- 
vided "that  said  Selma,  Marion  &  Memphis  Railroad  Company 
is  hereby  authorized  to  receive,  in  the  way  of  subscription  to  the 


1859,  Chap.  14.  p.  51. 
1867,  Chap.  464,  p.  6-55. 
**Laws  1870,  Chap.  220,  p.  566. 


292  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

capital  stock  of  said  company,  lands  lying  anywhere  within  the 
limits  of  the  State  of  Mississippi."  Under  the  authority  of  this 
statute  these  lands  were  conveyed  by  the  government  patentees 
or  their  privies  to  the  railroad  company,  which  title  had  passed 
to  the  complainants.  It  was  contended  by  complainants  that 
these  lands  were  owned  by  the  railroad  company  and  exempt 
from  taxation  by  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  so  that  as  there 
were  no  taxes  due  said  board  the  lands  could  not  forfeit  to  it 
for  taxes.  Complainants  had  still  a  further  title.  On  March 
1 6,  1872,  the  Legislature  passed  an  Act  to  facilitate  the  con- 
struction of  the  railroad,  which  Act  provides  "that  all  lands 
which  have  heretofore  been  forfeited  to  the  State  of  Mississippi 
for  taxes  due  and  unpaid  thereon  and  which  had  been  sold  to 
said  Selma,  Marion  &  Memphis  Railroad  Company  by  the 
original  owners  of  the  same,  shall  be  sold  to  said  railroad  com- 
pany by  the  Auditor  of  Public  Accounts  at  two  cents  per  acre," 
provided  that  upon  any  such  lands  forfeited  to  either  of  the 
levee  boards  of  the  State  the  levee  taxes  should  be  paid.46  These 
lands  were  conveyed  to  the  railroad  company  by  the  auditor 
under  the  authority  of  this  statute  by  deed,  which  recited  that 
the  land  had  been  "sold  to  the  State  of  Mississippi  for  taxes  due 
the  said  State,  and  that  the  company  had  paid  into  the  State 
treasury  two  cents  per  acre  in  full  payment  of  all  State  and 
county  taxes  due  thereon  to  the  present  date."  No  reference 
was  made  in  these  deeds  to  the  levee  taxes;  no  recital  of  any 
payment  of  them,  or  of  any  adjustment  with  the  levee  commis- 
sioners. Complainants  contended  that  the  deeds  were  them- 
selves evidence  of  a  prior  payment  and  discharge  of  the  levee 
taxes,  on  the  theory  that  such  payment  was  a  prerequisite  to  the 
conveyance  by  the  auditor.  The  Federal  Circuit  Court  rendered 
a  decree  dismissing  complainant's  bill,46  and  complainants  ap- 
pealed to  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States.  This  court 
held  that  the  auditor's  deed  was  no  evidence  of  payment  of 
levee  taxes ;  and  disposed  of  the  contention  that  the  lands  were 
exempt  from  taxation  by  affirming  the  decision  of  the  Missis- 
sippi Supreme  Court,  (i)  that  the  construction  and  repair  of 
levees  are  local  improvements,  and  (2)  that  exemptions  from 

45Loit-5  1872,  Chap.  35,  Sec.  3,  p.  313. 
46 43  Federal  Reporter,  p.  187. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.— Wade          293 

taxation  does  not  release  property  from  liability  from  assess- 
ments for  local  improvements.47  The  decree  of  the  Circuit 
Court  was  affirmed.48 

Having  seen  the  complete  triumph  of  the  Liquidating  Levee 
Board  title  over  the  title  of  the  original  owners  even  in  the  most 
favorable  circumstances  to  them,  we  now  turn  to  the  conflict 
between  the  title  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  on  the  one  hand 
and  the  title  of  the  Ten  Cent  Levee  Board  or  Levee  District 
Number  One,  on  the  other  hand.  As  the  lands  in  the  district 
of  the  two  last  mentioned  boards  were  subject  to  the  taxes  of 
the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  there  was  but  little,  if  any,  occa- 
sion under  the  laws  then  existing,  for  this  conflict.  Naturally 
much  of  these  lands  forfeited  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board, 
and  as  they  then  bore  no  revenue  the  levee  boards  were  exceed- 
ingly anxious  that  some  way  be  devised  by  which  these  lands 
could  be  subjected  to  taxation  by  them.  The  Ten  Cent  Levee 
Board  appealed  to  the  Legislature  for  relief,  and  on  April  5,  1872, 
was  passed  a  special  Act4'  entitled  "An  Act  for  the  relief  of  the 
Board  of  Levee  Commissioners  of  the  counties  of  Bolivar,  Wash- 
ington and  Issaquena,  and  for  other  purposes."  The  preamble 
recites  that  the  lands  claimed  to  be  held  and  owned  by  the 
commissioners  of  this,  the  Ten  Cent  Levee  Board,  are  beclouded 
by  claims  thereto  by  the  State,  and  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board, 
and  as  it  is  important  that  the  title  held  by  the  Ten  Cent  Levee 
Board  should  be  quieted,  so  that  the  lands  may  be  made  avail- 
able in  the  payment  of  the  debts  contracted  by  this  board  for 
levee  purposes.  But  the  enactment  extends  the  remedy  beyond 
the  recital  of  the  preamble,  so  as  to  include  all  persons,  natural 
and  artificial,  who  have  claim  to  or  "interest  in  the  lands." 
This  universal  remedy  as  provided  by  this  Act  was  the  filing  in 
the  Chancery  Court  by  the  commissioners  of  the  Ten  Cent 
Levee  Board  a  petition  "against  all  persons  claiming  or  having 
any  interest,  either  legal  or  equitable,  in  and  to  said  lands," 
praying  that  said  lands  be  sold  for  the  payment  of  all  taxes  in 
arrears  thereon,  and  in  case  no  bid  for  any  tract  was  sufficient 
to  pay  all  taxes  on  said  tract,  it  was  to  be  knocked  off  to  the 
Circuit  Clerk  of  the  county  to  be  held  for  the  State  until  a  suffi- 

4747  Miss..  367  and  713. 

4 '184  V.  S.  Supreme  Court  Reports,  p.  662. 

i9I.dws  of  1872,  p.  217. 


294  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

cient  amount  was  offered  for  it  to  pay  all  taxes,  when  it  was  to 
be  sold.  It  was  the  intention  of  the  Act  to  confirm  the  title 
through  the  Chancery  Court,  providing  for  publication,  trial, 
and  sale.  The  Act  provided  further  that  the  State,  or  any  person 
or  corporation  interested  therein,  should  not  be  made  defend- 
ants by  name,  designation  or  description.  On  October  22,  1872, 
in  pursuance  of  this  statute  this  board  filed  a  bill  in  Chancery 
Court  of  Bolivar  County  against  "all  persons  having  or  claiming 
any  interest,  either  legal  or  equitable,  in  and  to  the  lands  herein 
described,"  as  defendants,  without  naming  any  individual. 
On  January  24,  1873,  a  final  decree  was  entered  reciting  that  no 
cause  had  been  shown  why  the  lands  should  not  be  sold  for  the 
amount  of  the  taxes  stated,  and  much  land  in  the  county  was 
thereby  ordered  to  be  sold  by  a  commissioner  on  the  first  day  of 
the  next  regular  term  of  the  court.  From  this  decree  G.  D. 
Brown,  who  claimed  a  portion  of  the  land  sold,  appealed.  The 
special  statute  under  which  this  suit  was  brought  was  declared, 
on  this  appeal,  unconstitutional;  Judge  Simrall  assigning  seven 
instances  wherein  it  is  in  contravention  of  the  Constitution, 
amounting  in  the  main  to  a  declaration  that  the  special  statute 
was  an  attempt  to  deprive  persons  of  their  property  "without 
due  process  of  law."50  Thus  perished  an  attempt  on  the  part 
of  the  Ten  Cent  Levee  Board  to  release  and  take  from  the  Liqui- 
dating Levee  Board,  without  consideration,  practically  all  of 
its  lands  in  three  of  the  largest  counties  of  the  district. 

The  conflict  between  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  and  Levee 
District  Number  One  came  to  the  courts  of  last  resort,  both 
State  and  Federal.  A  bill  was  filed  in  the  Chancery  Court  of 
Coahoma  County,  September  15,  1890,  by  one  Shotwell  and 
others  against  the  Louisville,  New  Orleans  &  Texas  Railway 
Company,  and  those  claiming  under  said  company,  involving 
the  title  to  a  large  tract  of  land  in  said  county.  Complainants 
were  original  owners  of  the  lands  in  controversy  and  also  claimed 
as  vendees  of  Levee  District  Number  One.  Defendants  claimed 
title  through  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  and  the  State.  The 
Chancellor  found  as  a  matter  of  fact  that  the  liquidating  levee 
taxes  had  been  paid  on  these  lands,  or  that  redemptions  had 
been  made  within  the  time  required  by  law,  and  because  of  this 

5 "50  Miss.,  468. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          295 

finding  the  title  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  is  not  further 
adjudicated  in  this  case."  Some  few  years  prior  to  the  forego- 
ing suit  Amos  Woodruff,  trustee,  the  German  Bank  of  Memphis, 
Tennessee,  and  others,  as  owners  and  holders  of  a  large  number 
of  bonds,  amounting  to  the  principal  sum  of  $350,000,  issued 
by  the  Levee  Board  of  District  Number  One  by  virtue  of  its 
charter,  filed  suit  in  the  Chancery  Court  of  Hinds  County  against 
the  Auditor  of  Public  Accounts  and  the  State  Treasurer,  as 
trustees,  who  by  virtue  of  the  Act  of  1876* 2  last  administered 
the  trust  funds  of  said  Levee  District  Number  One,  and  the 
Louisville,  New  Orleans  &  Texas  Railway  Company,  the  Delta 
and  Pine  Land  Company,  and  Swan  and  Burroughs,  all  of  said 
defendants  being  owners  of  large  bodies  of  lands  claimed  both 
by  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  and  Levee  Board  District 
Number  One,  to  enforce  a  trust  and  lien  on  certain  lands  in  said 
Levee  District  Number  One.  The  defendants  demurred  to  the 
bill,  among  other  reasons  assigned,  upon  the  ground  that  the 
act  of  the  levee  board  in  making  the  bonds  payable  "in  gold 
coin"  was  ultra  vires,  and  the  bond  therefore  invalid.  The 
Chancellor  sustained  the  demurrer  solely  on  the  last  mentioned 
ground,  and  the  bill  was  thereupon  dismissed.  Complainants 
appealed,  and  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  State  affirmed  the 
decree  of  the  Chancellor, &s  whereupon  an  appeal  was  taken  to 
the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  where  the  decision  of 
the  State  courts  was  reversed,  the  court  holding  that  the  levee 
bonds  in  litigation  were  not  null  and  void  because  of  the  recital 
therein  of  the  indebtedness  to  be  "in  gold  coin."54  In  the 
Supreme  Court  of  Mississippi,  where  the  cause  had  been  remanded 
by  the  United  States  Supreme  Court  for  decision  on  the  other 
grounds  of  demurrer  to  the  bill  not  considered  by  either  of  said 
Supreme  Courts,  it  was  held  that  the  right  to  have  collected 
the  taxes  of  Levee  District  Number  One,  due  said  levee  district 
after  the  period  of  redemption  of  lands  forfeited  to  the  State 
or  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  had  expired,  is  the  full  extent 
of  the  rights  and  interests  that  the  holders  of  the  bonds  of  said 

51 69  Miss.,  541. 
**Laws  1876,  p.  174. 
SS66  Miss.,  298. 
"162  U.  S.  Reft.,  291. 


296  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Levee  District  Number  One  had  in  the  lands  in  controversy. 
To  quote  the  language  of  the  court: 

"Sales  of  land  embraced  in  Levee  District  Number  One,  legally  made  to 
the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  for  liquidating  levee  taxes  conveyed  valid 
title  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  and  while  held  by  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board,  said  lands  were  not  subject  to  any  tax  *  *  *and  could 
not  be  sold  therefor."55 

Thus  triumphed  the  title  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board 
over  another  adversary. 

There  was  some  further  litigation  over  the  conflicting  titles 
of  the  levee  boards,  more  in  the  nature  of  collateral  attacks,  but 
as  these  are  of  minor  importance,  we  pass  on  to  the  greater 
conflict  between  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  and  the  State. 

The  legal  tax  sale  that  was  made  first  in  point  of  time,  as 
between  the  State  and  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  conveyed 
title.  Frequently  forfeitures  were  made  to  both  the  State  and 
this  board,  yet  it  was  never  difficult  to  show  which  sale  was 
made  first  and  so  to  ascertain  which  sale  conveyed  title.  The 
Act  of  1860, 56  which  made  a  tax  title  unassailable  after  five 
years,  does  not  cure  a  levee  tax  sale  which  was  void  because  the 
land  being  held  by  the  State  was  not  taxable,  so  not  subject  to 
sale  for  taxes.57  Efforts  were  sometimes  made  to  prove  that  a 
first  sale  made  to  one  or  the  other  was  illegal,  and  by  so  doing 
the  title  was  established  in  the  one  for  whom  the  second  sale 
was  made.  A  great  number  of  tax  sales  were  made  during  the 
war,  and  the  State  laid  claim  to  large  bodies  of  land  which  for- 
feited to  the  State  during  the  war.  When  this  title  in  later 
years  was  attacked  it  was  declared  void,  the  Supreme  Court 
holding  that  "the  imposition  by  the  Legislature  of  the  war 
taxes  of  1861,  in  aid  of  the  rebellion,  being  void,  a  sale  of  land 
thereunder  was  void,  and  could  not  be  validated  by  subsequent 
legislation.58 

But  the  State  did  not  undertake  to  fight  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board  on  common  ground.  The  Legislature  prided  itself 
that  it  was  able  to  manufacture  new  weapons  of  warfare,  and 
it  is  with  these  new  weapons  that  we  are  primarily  concerned 

55  77  Miss.,  6S. 

56  .Laws  1851;— 6c,  p.  213. 

6 '66  Miss.,  68.  and  68  Miss.,  250. 

5825  So  Rep.,  865;  51  Miss.,  782;  52  Miss.,  834;  22  So.  Rep.,  947. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade  297 

here.  In  enacting  new  laws  applicable  to  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board  (its  charter  has  been  amended  by  the  Legislature 
no  less  than  twenty  times)  it  must  not  be  imagined  that  the 
Legislature  was  actuated  by  animosity,  or  any  other  sinister 
motive;  to  relieve  the  taxpayers  of  their  heavy  burdens  by 
placing  all  lands  in  the  revenue-producing  class  was  the  benevo- 
lent motive  prompting  the  Legislature  to  act. 

Tax  titles  had  become  so  precarious,  purchasers  so  often 
acquiring  no  title  at  tax  sales,  and  losing  the  purchase  money 
actually  paid,  until  people  had  about  quit  bidding  at  tax  sales, 
thus  virtually  making  these  sales  merely  a  formal  forfeiture  to 
the  sovereign  to  whom  the  tax  was  due.  To  remedy  this  con- 
dition of  affairs  the  Legislature  enacted  a  general  law » •  guaran- 
teeing to  purchasers  at  tax  sales  protection  from  the  State  and 
county.  By  this  scheme  such  purchasers  should  in  every 
instance  acquire  either  a  good  title  to  the  land  sold,  or  in  default 
thereof  should  receive  back  their  money.  This  law  was  upheld 
by  the  Supreme  Court,  their  decision  being  as  broad  as  the 
statute  they  construe.  "The  intention  evident  was  that  no 
conceivable  case  should  arise  in  which  the  purchaser  should 
lose  both  the  land  and  his  money."'  This  statute,  however, 
did  not  apply  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.  It  marks  the 
beginning  of  legislative  relief  from  taxation  in  this  period  of 
the  State  of  Mississippi. 

We  come  next  to  consider  what  is  known  as  the  Abatement 
Act.  This  statute,  passed  March  i,  1875,  provided  that  all 
taxes  for  years  preceding  the  year  1874  be  abated,  that  is,  that 
all  unpaid  taxes  for  these  years,  which  were  at  that  time  delin- 
quent, be  abolished.  This  law  was  intended  to  act  as  a  can- 
cellation of  all  indebtedness  due  the  State  and  the  three  levee 
boards  for  taxes  for  these  years.  Large  bodies  of  land  were  held 
by  the  State  and  by  the  levee  boards  which  could  not  be  sold 
nor  taxed.  These  lands  were  in  a  "dead  hand,"  so  to  speak. 
The  State  had  concluded  that  the  best  policy  for  it  to  pursue 
was  to  unfetter  these  lands  by  getting  them  into  the  hands  of 
private  owners,  and  thus  throwing  them  back  into  the  class  of 
re  venue -producing  property.  Justice  Cooper  sums  up  the  rea- 

*'Code  1871,   Revenue  Chapter,   Art.    n. 
9056  Miss., I 


298  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

sons  for  the  enactment  of  this  law,  and  the  conditions  intended 
that  it  should  remedy,  as  follows: 

"On  the  first  of  March,  1875,  the  State  was,  or  claimed  to  be,  the  owner 
of  an  immense  quantity  of  lands,  which  had  been  sold  to  it  for  taxes  of 
preceding  years.  These  lands  were,  as  the  property  of  the  State,  exempt 
from  taxation,  and  a  general  distrust  as  to  the  validity  of  the  sales  under 
which  they  had  been  acquired  deterred  persons  from  purchasing  them 
from  the  State.  A  considerable  portion  of  them  had  been  purchased  by 
the  State  prior  to  the  year  1861,  and  in  the  destruction  of  the  records 
caused  by  the  war  all  evidence  of  title  as  to  a  large  portion  of  them  had 
been  lost.  Others  of  them  had  been  acquired  under  tax  sales  made  dur- 
ing the  war,  and  the  taxes  for  which  they  had  been  sold  were  composed 
in  part  of  levies  for  the  support  of  the  armies  of  the  Confederate  States. 
Such  sales  had  been  declared  void  by  the  courts  The  proceedings  under 
which  by  far  the  greater  part  of  them  had  been  sold  were  invalid,  because 
of  irregularities  in  the  assessment  and  sales.  The  owners  of  these  lands, 
finding  them  assessed  to  the  State,  and  thus  freed  from  taxation,  and 
knowing  that  no  title  could  be  conferred  by  sale  to  purchasers  from  the 
State,  were  content  to  permit  the  continuance  of  the  shadow  which  pro- 
tected them  from  taxation,  but  did  not  threaten  their  possession.  The 
evil  was  not  only  serious  as  it  existed,  but  was  constantly  and  rapidly 
increasing.  It  pressed  itself  upon  the  consideration  of  the  Legislature, 
and  the  result  was  the  passage  of  the  Act  approved  March  i,  1875,  com- 
monly known  as  the  Abatement  Act."61  • 

Again,  in  a  dissenting  opinion  in  another  case,  this  same 
judge  used  the  following  language: 

"In  this  condition  of  things  the  Legislature  determined  to  deal  with 
them  as  a  separate  and  independent  class,  and  for  this  purpose  the  Act 
under  consideration  was  passed.  In  my  opinion  it  was  intended  to  sell 
under  the  provisions  of  the  Act  all  the  lands  to  which  the  State  at  that 
time  held  or  claimed  title,  as  shown  by  its  rolls,  regardless' of  any  fact 
the  existence  of  which  would  or  would  not  invalidate  its  title.  The  State 
abandoned  any  claim,  real  or  supposed,  which  it  had  to  taxes  for  prior 
years.  Whether  the  sales  were  valid  or  void,  and  whether  if  void  they 
were  void  for  one  reason  or  another,  whether  taxes  were  really  due  for 
antecedent  years  or  had  all  been  paid ,  were  by  the  very  terms  of  the  Act 
rendered  wholly  immaterial.  Neither  taxes  due  nor  titles  arising  in  the 
past  were  the  subject  of  consideration.  The  sole  purpose  was  to  sell 
those  lands  'held  or  claimed  by  the  State,'  under  previous  sales  for  taxes 
for  so  much  only  as  should  be  due  for  the  year  1874.  Though  called  an 
abatement  act,  that  was  not  its  chief  end  or  design.  Abatement  of 
taxes  was  declared  not  to  benefit  the  former  owner,  but  to  induce  the 
public  generally  to  invest  in  the  lands  by  reducing  the  price  at  which 
they  might  be  bought.  It  is  true  that  the  State  assumed  some  taxes  to 
be  due,  but  whether  any  in  fact  were  owing  could  only  be  determined  by 
investigation  of  matters  in  pais,  and  no  investigation  of  this  character 
was  provided  for  or  could  be  made.  The  fact  that  no  taxes  were  due 
for  years  other  than  1874  did  not,  in  my  opinion,  withdraw  the  lands  so 
mistakenly  assumed  to  be  delinquent  from  the  operation  of  the  Act. 
The  rolls  of  land  held  or  claimed  by  the  State  indicated,  in  my  opinion, 
just  what  lands  were  intended  to  be  dealt  with,  and  are  the  sole  and  con- 
clusive evidence  of  what  lands  were  salable  under  the  Act."82 

616o  Miss.',  282. 
62 63  Miss.,  603. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          299 

The  foregoing  extracts  from  the  opinion  of  the  Supreme 
Court  of  the  State  of  Mississippi  is  probably  the  best  statement 
of  the  conditions  necessitating  the  Abatement  Act,  its  purposes, 
and  the  general  intent  of  the  Legislature  in  enacting  it.  As  to 
the  Act  itself,  it  has  been  called  "a  marvel  of  obscurity,  com- 
posed of  twenty-five  sections,  each  of  which  is  probably  une- 
qualled, save  only  by  its  fellows,  in  prolixity  and  confusion.  "°s 
The  Supreme  Court  says  that  "an  examination  of  this  Act  has 
impressed  us  with  the  conviction  that  what  was  the  legislative 
will  and  intention  as  to  the  various  details  of  the  Act  can  never 
be  known  and  scarcely  approximated."84  Fortunately  the 
adoption  of  the  code  provisions  as  to  the  sale  of  the  land  frees 
that,  the  most  important  question,  from  all  doubt. 

It  will  be  seen  that  while  this  law  was  passed  as  a  special  reve- 
nue Act,  it  was  not  intended  to  collect  delinquent  taxes,  but  to 
get  large  bodies  of  land  then  exempt  from  taxation  into  a  tax- 
able condition.  These  lands  were  subjected  by  the  Act  to  cer- 
tain taxes  for  the  year  1874,  and  all  tax  collectors  were  required 
to  proceed  at  once  to  the  collection  of  these  taxes.  If  these 
taxes  were  not  paid  on  said  lands  by  April  i,  1875,  the  lands 
should  then  become  delinquent,  and  should  be  sold  on  the  sec- 
ond Monday  in  May,  1875,  for  such  taxes.  It  was  probably  not 
expected  that  such  taxes  would  be  paid.  In  short,  the  Act 
virtually  ordered  that  these  lands  be  listed  and  sold  for  the 
taxes  of  1874,  such  sale  to  vest  a  perfect  title  if  not  redeemed 
within  twelve  months.  In  accord  with  this  intention  millions 
of  acres  of  land  throughout  the  State  were  sold  on  May  10,  1875, 
and  a  few  days  immediately  following.  In  some  few  instances 
small  tracts  were  bought  in  by  private  parties,  but  the  great 
body  of  these  lands  in  default  of  bidders  was  forfeited  to  the 
State.  However,  the  Act  was  not  a  failure,  because  in  twelve 
months'  time  the  State's  title  would  become  perfected,  thus 
enabling  the  State  to  convey  good  title. 

The  lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  were  to  be  subjected 
to  the  same  abatement  of  taxes  and  the  same  listing  and  sale  as 
State  lands;  that  is  to  say,  all  the  title  of  the  State  or  Liquidat- 
ing Levee  Board  to  any  land  acquired  by  forfeiture  for  non- 

636o  Miss.,  289. 


300  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

payment  of  taxes  for  years  prior  to  the  year  1874,  was  released 
to  the  former  owners  as  if  no  forfeiture  or  sale  for  taxes  had  ever 
been  made,  all  previous  taxes  abated,  and  the  land  subjected 
anew  as  the  property  of  its  former  owner  to  the  payment  of  the 
taxes  due.  It  was  contended  that  this  Act  would  work  the  same 
advantage  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  that  it  would  to  the 
State,  that  the  Act  was  conservative  and  constitutional.  The 
lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  were  sold  under  this  Act 
on  May  10,  1875,  along  with  the  State's  land,  and  as  directed 
by  the  Act,  in  the  absence  of  purchasers,  conveyed  to  the  State. 

An  Act  entitled  "An  Act  to  abolish  the  office  of  Liquidating 
Levee  Commissioner,  and  to  provide  for  the  redemption  of  lands 
in  the  Liquidating  Levee  District,  and  for  other  purposes," 
became  a  law  on  April  n,  1876. 65  By  the  first  section  of  this 
Act  the  office  of  Liquidating  Levee  Commissioner  was  abolished ; 
and  by  the  second,  third,  fourth  and  fifth  sections  the  books 
pertaining  to  said  office  were  directed  to  be  deposited  with 
the  Auditor  and  Treasurer  of  the  State,  and  provision  made 
for  the  transferring  to  said  officers  all  property  belonging  to 
said  levee  district  and  for  determining  what  claims  against  the 
district  should  be  recognized  and  discharged  by  said  officers. 
Section  6  provided  for  the  redemption  at  any  time  prior  to 
November  i,  1876,  without  damages,  of  the  forfeited  lands  in 
liquidating  levee  bonds,  scrip  or  surplusage  certificates  hereto- 
fore issued.  Section  7  provided  for  the  sale  by  the  Auditor  of 
these  forfeited  lands  after  November  i,  1876,  and  before  January 
i,  1878,  on  the  same  terms  as  are  provided  for  redemptions  in 
Section  6  of  the  Act.  Under  these  provisions  redemptions  and 
purchases  were  made  without  objection  on  the  part  of  the 
bondholders,  as  their  bonds  and  scrip  were  made  receivable  for 
State  and  county  as  well  as  levee  taxes. 

Section  8  provided  that  all  deeds  made  by  the  "Auditor  under 
the  provisions  of  this  Act  shall  be  prima  facie  evidence  of  para- 
mount title,  and  no  suit  or  action  shall  be  brought  in  any  court 
of  this  State  to  vacate  or  impeach  any  such  deed,  or  to  maintain 
any  title  or  deed  antagonistic  thereto,  unless  the  same  shall  be 
brought  within  one  year  next  after  the  date  of  such  deed,  and 
after  the  expiration  of  one  year  after  the  date  of  such  Auditor's 

1876,  p.  166 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          301 

deed  the  same  shall  be  held  and  deemed  by  all  the  courts  of  this 
State  to  be  conclusive  evidence  of  paramount  title,  and  upon 
which  actions  of  ejectment  and  all  possessory  actions  may  be 
maintained."  Section  13  provided  that  for  all  lands  mentioned 
in  this  Act  not  "redeemed  or  purchased  as  herein  provided  for, 
on  or  before  January  i,  1878,  no  further  time  for  redemption 
shall  be  allowed,  and  the  title  thereto  shall  be  vested  in  the  State 
of  Mississippi,  and  no  action  in  law  or  equity  shall  be  maintained 
in  any  court  of  this  State,  *  *  *  for  the  recovery  of  any 
such  lands,"  etc. 

There  is  no  doubt  of  the  legislative  will  as  expressed  in  this 
Act.  It  was  intended  to  accomplish  what  it  was  feared  the 
Abatement  Act  had  not  done.  That  Act  was  intended  to  place 
all  these  lands  into  hands  that  would  pay  revenue  on  them,  but 
in  default  of  bidders  all  of  these  lands  had  all  practically  for- 
feited to  the  State.  As  yet  the  courts  had  not  passed  upon  the 
validity  of  the  sales  of  these  lands  made  under  that  Act,  and  the 
Legislature  undertook  with  this  Act  to  perfect  the  State's  title 
to  these  lands  thus  acquired.  The  State's  shadow  of  title 
was  to  be  made  the  actual  title  unless  attacked  within  a  certain 
time.  We  are  told  that: 

"The  evident  plan  and  purpose  was  to  permit  the  owners  to  redeem 
within  a  limited  time  and  then  to  dispose  of  the  land  if  unredeemed,  to 
any  purchaser  who  would  accept  the  title  which  the  State  had  previously 
acquired,  fortified  and  protected  by  the  operation  of  the  eighth  and 
thirteenth  sections  of  the  Act."6* 

By  expiration  of  time  without  regard  to  possession  the  Legis- 
lature sought  to  transfer  title  from  the  owner  and  vest  it  in  the 
State  absolutely,  thus  securing  to  the  State  the  title  against  all 
the  attacks  of  the  owner  upon  any  grounds  whatsoever.  In 
this  respect  this  Act  differed  materially  from  the  Abatement 
Act,  for  it  will  be  remembered  that  that  Act  attempted  to  release 
to  the  former  owner  all  title  of  either  the  State  or  Liquidating 
Levee  Board,  and  the  State  proceeded  anew  to  subject  the  lands 
as  the  property  of  these  former  owners  to  the  payment  of  the 
taxes  due." 

This  Act  has  a  twofold  operation:  (i)  it  prescribes  a  short 
period  of  limitation,  after  which  no  suit  shall  be  brought  by  the 

666o  Miss.,  1038. 


302  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

owner  for  the  recovery  of  the  property,  and  (2)  it  gives  to  the 
conveyances  under  the  tax  sales  a  conclusive  effect  as  evidence, 
thereby  cutting  off  all  inquiry  into  the  existence  of  defects  or 
irregularities,  and  thus  operates  as  a  curative  law.  Its  opera- 
tion is  first  to  divest  from  the  owner  the  constructive  possession 
of  his  property  and  to  invest  it  in  another,  and  in  favor  of  the 
possession  thus  transferred  to  put  in  operation  a  statute  of  limi- 
tation for  its  ultimate  and  complete  protection.  A  complete 
title  to  land,  according  to  Blackstone,  consists  of  the  possession, 
the  right  of  possession,  and  the  right  of  property.  It  is  evident 
that  the  effort  of  this  statute  is  to  do  indirectly  that  which  may 
not  be  directly  done,  namely,  to  divest  title  by  a  mere  legis- 
lative decree.68 

By  an  Act  approved  February  i,  1877,  69  the  annual  tax  of 
five  and  three  cents  per  acre,  assessed  by  the  Act  of  1867,  cre- 
ating the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  was  reduced  to  one  and  one- 
half  cents  per  acre.  The  outstanding  bonds  of  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board  were  directed  to  be  called  in  and  registered,  and 
in  lieu  thereof  new  bonds  at  thirty  -three  and  one-third  per  cent 
of  the  amount  of  the  original  bonds  were  directed  to  be  issued, 
and  said  original  bonds  were  required  to  be  cancelled. 

The  above  paragraphs  give  a  brief  summary  of  the  legislative 
attacks  upon  the  title  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.  It  was 
but  natural  that  these  new  laws  should  soon  bear  fruit.  Almost 
the  immediate  result  of  them  was  the  case  of  Green  vs.  Gibbs,70 
probably  the  most  prominent  case  in  the  legislative  and  judicial 
history  of  the  State.  As  this  case  is  a  final  adjudication  of 
almost  this  entire  subject,  it  will  be  well  to  look  into  it  some- 
what in  detail. 

Early  in  the  year  1877  Joshua  Green,  the  holder  of  $84,000  of 
the  bonds  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  issued  under  the 
Acts  of  1867  and  1871,  filed  a  bill  in  the  Chancery  Court  of  the 
First  District  of  Hinds  County,  in  behalf  of  himself  and  other 
bondholders,  against  W.  H.  Gibbs,  Auditor  of  Public  Accounts, 
and  W.  L.  Hemingway,  State  Treasurer,  in  their  capacity  as 
ex  officio  Liquidating  Levee  Commissioners,  and  against  the 
State  of  Mississippi,  alleging:  (i)  that  the  Act  of  1867,  having 


. 

K*Laws  1877,  p.  22. 
7054  Miss.,  592. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          303 

been  accepted  by  the  holders  of  claims  against  the  General 
Levee  Board  of  1858,  and  the  bonds  having  been  issued  under 
that  Act  (Act  of  1867)  and  the  one  of  1871,  there  was  a  contract 
which  the  State  could  not,  by  subsequent  legislation,  impair; 
(2)  that  the  lands,  which  had  been  sold  for  the  non-payment  of 
taxes  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  were  held  in  trust  by  them 
for  the  bondholders;  (3)  that  the  Abatement  Act  of  1875,  in  so 
far  as  it  was  intended  to  deal  with  those  lands,  and  release  back 
taxes,  was  unconstitutional  and  void;  (4)  that  the  Act  of  1876, 
in  so  far  as  it  imposed  restrictions  on  the  redemption  of  the 
lands,  was  unconstitutional  and  void,  and  (5)  that  the  Act  of 
1877  was  a  direct  attempt  to  repudiate  two-thirds  of  the  debt, 
and  was  void  in  toto.  The  bill  then  prayed:  (i)  that  Gibbs  and 
Hemingway,  as  ex  officio  Liquidating  Levee  Commissioners,  be 
compelled  to  discover  and  set  out  by  section,  township  and  range 
the  lands  held  by  them  as  such  commissioners  in  the  several 
counties  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  District;  (2)  that  the  lands 
be  decreed  to  be  a  trust  fund,  and  sold  to  pay  the  complainant 
and  such  other  bondholders  as  should  come  in  and  aid  in  prose- 
cuting the  suit;  (3)  that  the  taxes  imposed  by  the  Act  of  1867 
be  collected;  (4)  for  a  receiver  to  make  such  collection,  if  neces- 
sary ;  -(5)  for  an  injunction,  etc.  To  this  bill  Gibbs  and  Heming- 
way demurred  on  the  following  grounds:  (i)  that  the  Acts 
attacked  by  the  bill  were  constitutional ;  (2)  that  the  Acts  under 
which  complainants'  debt  accrued  were  unconstitutional;  (3) 
that  the  allegations  did  not  warrant  the  relief  prayed;  (4)  that 
the  court  had  no  jurisdiction,  and  (5)  want  of  equity  on  the  face 
of  the  bill.  This  demurrer  was  overruled  by  the  Chancery 
Court  and  an  appeal  was  taken  to  the  Supreme  Court  of  the 
State." 

On  the  appeal  to  the  Supreme  Court  that  court  held:72  (i) 
that  the  Act  of  1867 7  3  became  a  contract  between  the  State  and 
the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  holders 
of  the  bonds  on  the  other,  which  neither  party  could  thereafter 
materially  modify,  without  the  other's  consent;  (2)  that  the 
lands  forfeited  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  constituted  a 
fund  for  the  redemption  of  the  bonds  issued  by  said  Board, 

71  54  Miss.,  592. 

"Ibid. 

"Lou'5  1867,  p.  237. 


304  Mississippi  Historical  Socitey. 

which  the  Legislature  could  not  divert ;  (3)  that  the  Act  of  1877 7  4 
repealing  the  tax  and  offering  bondholders  the  alternative  of 
surrendering  their  bonds  and  receiving  new  ones  of  one-third  of 
their  face  value,  with  a  less  tax  to  pay  them,  or  not  participate 
in  the  new  tax,  was  unconstitutional,  and  (4)  that  the  fact  that 
the  Liquidating  Levee  Commissioners  are  vested  by  the  Act75 
with  the  power  to  sell  the  lands  does  not  divest  the  Chancery 
Court  of  its  inherent  jurisdiction  to  administer  the  trust  fund 
for  the  benefit  of  the  cestui  que  trust  on  their  application,  and, 
in  selling,  the  court  may  appoint  the  statutory  trustee  as  its 
commissioner,  as  it  may  deem  most  advantageous  to  all  con- 
cerned. The  decree  of  the  lower  court,  overruling  the  demur- 
rer, was  therefore  affirmed  and  the  cause  remanded  for  answer.76 
On  September  28,  1877,  a  decree  was  rendered  in  this  cause 
by  said  Chancery  Court  ordering  the  defendants,  Gibbs  and  Hem- 
ingway, Auditor  and  Treasurer,  as  ex  officio  Liquidating  Levee 
Commissioners  and  pro  hac  vice  commissioners  of  said  court,  to 
permit  the  former  owners  of  the  land  included  in  the  schedule, 
exhibited  with  their  answer,  to  purchase,  by  way  of  redeeming 
the  same,  all  of  said  land  shown  in  said  schedule,  until  December 
i,  1877,  after  which  time  the  said  commissioners,  until  otherwise 
ordered  by  the  court,  should  sell  and  dispose  of  all  the'  lands 
undisposed  of  for  such  price  and  sum  not  less  than  all  the  liqui- 
dating levee  taxes  due  and  in  arrears  thereon,  as  in  their  discre- 
tion may  be  to  the  interest  of  the  parties  to  the  suit,  taking  in 
payment  thereof  currency  or  bonds  or  evidences  of  debt,  included 
in  said  proceeding  and  exhibit  in  said  cause.  In  pursuance  to 
the  decrees  rendered  in  this  cause  W.  H.  Gibbs  (and  S.  Gwin, 
his  successor)  as  Auditor  of  Public  Accounts,  and  W.  L.  Hem- 
ingway, as  Treasurer,  in  their  capacity  as  ex  officio  Liquidating 
Levee  Commissioners  and  commissioners  pro  hac  vice  of  said  Chan- 
cery Court,  in  said  cause,  sold  practically  all  of  the  lands  which 
had  formerly  been  sold  to  the  General  Levee  Board  of  1858 
and  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  which  had  not  formerly  been 
disposed  of  by  said  boards,  and  the  sales  made  by  them  were 
properly  confirmed  by  the  Chancery  Court. 

7  *  Laws  of  1877,  p.  22. 
16Laws  1876,  p.  166. 
7654  Miss.,  592 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          305 

Thus  it  is  seen  that  the  liquidating  levee  title  not  only  held  its 
own  against  repeated  attempts  on  the  part  of  the  State  Legis- 
lature to  impair  its  strength,  but  came  out  with  the  sanction 
and  confirmation  of  its  sales  by  the  Chancery  Court,  showing 
that  equity  had  been  done,  adding  strength  to  the  liquidating 
levee  title.  This  finishes  the  battle  of  the  titles,  leaving  the 
liquidating  levee  title  victor  over  all  its  enemies. 

We  pass  now  to  the  last  division  of  our  narrative,  namely, 
the  perfection  of  the  liquidating  levee  title.  It  may  seem  need- 
less after  what  has  gone  before  to  make  any  effort  toward  fur- 
ther perfecting  this  title ;  but  when  it  is  remembered  that  there 
still  existed  outstanding  paper  titles,  which  at  any  time  could 
call  this  title  into  question,  bring  its  owner  into  court  and  sub- 
ject him  to  the  expense  and  trouble  of  a  law  suit,  the  wisdom 
of  eliminating  these  adverse  claims  will  be  seen.  Conflicts  of 
title  always  detract  from  the  salability  of  land,  and  thus  hinder 
and  retard  the  material  development  of  the  country.  The 
lands  of  the  Ten  Cent  Levee  Board  passed  to  the  State  under 
an  Act  of  April  n,  1876."  By  another  Act  passed  the  same 
day  the  State  became  the  successor  of  the  Levee  District  Num- 
ber One  as  to  its  land  titles.78  Thus  the  State  had  become  the 
adverse  claimant  of  the  liquidating  levee  title  both  by  virtue 
of  these  Acts  as  well  as  by  direct  forfeitures  to  the  State.  So, 
on  March  14,  1884,  the  Legislature  passed  an  Act"  directing  the 
Auditor  of  the  State  to  execute  a  quit  claim  deed  to  all  pur- 
chasers of  lands  in  the  liquidating  levee  district  of  any  interest 
claimed  by  the  State  in  any  lands  which  had  been  sold  by  the 
Chancery  Court  under  the  decree  of  the  case  of  Green  vs.  Gibbs, 
upon  payment  of  such  levee  taxes  as  had  accrued  prior  to  the 
year  1883.  If  the  Legislature  could  not  perfect  the  title  to 
these  lands  by  confiscating  the  liquidating  levee  title,  it  would 
perfect  it  so  far  as  the  State's  title  was  concerned  by  conveying 
whatever  title  the  State  had  to  the  holders  of  the  liquidating 
levee  title.  The  Act  of  1884  was  intended  to  accomplish  this 
end.  The  Supreme  Court  held  in  construing  this  statute  that 
the  Auditor  had  no  authority  to  convey  the  title  claimed  by  the 
State,  except  upon  the  condition  that  the  grantee  had  paid  the 

77 Laws  1876,  p.  166. 
1sLaws  1876,  p.  174. 
™Laws  1884,  p.  182. 


306  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

taxes  referred  to  in  the  Act,  and  since  in  many  instances  it  was 
uncertain  what  amounts  were  due,  the  conveyances  made  under 
the  Act  was  of  doubtful  validity.80  To  remedy  this  defect  in 
the  Act  of  1884,  the  Legislature,  on  March  2,  1888,  passed  an 
Act81  entitled  "An  Act  to  quiet  and  settle  the  title  to  certain 
land  in  the  Yazoo  Delta  which  was  sold  by  the  commissioners 
of  the  Chancery  Court  of  the  First  District  of  Hinds  County, 
in  the  case  of  Green  and  others  vs.  Hemingway  and  Gibbs, 
Treasurer  and  Auditor  and  ex  officio  Levee  Commissioners." 
The  preamble  of  this  Act  recites  that  sales  of  large  bodies  of 
lands  had  been  made  under  the  Green  vs.  Gibbs  decree,  and  that 
by  reason  of  the  lapse  of  time,  the  destruction  of  records  and  the 
loss  of  original  tax  collectors'  deeds,  it  had  become  difficult  in 
many  instances  for  the  purchasers  of  said  lands  to  establish 
title  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board;  that  the  development 
and  settlement  of  that  portion  of  the  State  was  much  retarded 
by  the  unsettled  condition  of  land  titles,  and  that  the  public 
interest  would  be  promoted  by  legislation  which  would  make 
them  secure. 

The  first  section  of  this  Act  of  1888  made  the  deed  executed 
by  said  commissioners  under  said  decree  prima  facie  evidence 
of  the  regularity  and  validity  of  said  Chancery  Court  proceed- 
ings, and  of  the  authority  of  said  commissioners  to  sell,  and 
prima  facie  evidence  that  the  land  embraced  was  duly  and  legally 
sold  to  the  Board  of  Levee  Commissioners  up  to  and  including 
the  sale  of  1874,  and  that  the  titles  conferred  by  said  deeds  were 
to  all  intents  and  purposes  valid.  This  section  has  been  passed 
on  by  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  State  and  upheld,  the  court 
holding,  however,  that  the  statute  does  not  relieve  a  person 
holding  under  a  deed  by  Gwin  and  Hemingway,  which  does  not 
show  when  or  by  what  particular  sale  the  title  to  the  land  was 
acquired  by  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  from  proving  the  par- 
ticular title  by  which  the  levee  board  claimed.82 

The  second  section  of  this  Act  of  1888  authorized  the  Auditor 
to  execute  deeds  to  purchasers  from  Gwin  and  Hemingway, 
commissioners,  etc.,  conveying  the  State's  title  to  the  land  pur- 
chased, and  was  somewhat  similar  to  the  Act  of  1884,  already 

8067  Miss.,  740. 

slLaws  1888,  p.  40. 

8268  Miss.,  779,  and  25  So.  Rep.,  863. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.  —  Wade          307 

referred  to.  The  third  section  of  this  Act  made  the  deed  exe- 
cuted by  the  Auditor,  in  pursuance  to  Section  2,  prima  facie 
evidence  of  paramount  title.  The  Supreme  Court  in  construing 
these  sections  have  held  that  the  Auditor's  deed  to  purchasers  of 
levee  lands,  though  declared  to  be  evidence  of  paramount  title, 
did  not  operate  to  absolve  such  purchaser  from  pointing  out  the 
particular  title  by  which  the  State  claimed.8*  The  fourth  sec- 
tion prescribed  twelve  months  as  the  period  of  limitation  in 
which  suits  might  be  brought  to  recover  land  conveyed  by  said 
commissioners'  deeds  or  by  Auditor's  deeds.  The  fifth  section 
was  an  attempt  to  validate  the  sales  made  to  the  Liquidating 
Levee  Board  providing  "that  all  sales  of  land  lying  in  the  dis- 
trict subject  to  the  liquidating  levee  tax,  heretofore  made  for 
said  tax  shall  be,  and  are  hereby  declared  to  be,  valid,  *  *  * 
and  shall  not  be  impeached  for  any  cause,  except  that  the  tax 
for  which  said  land  was  sold  has  been  paid."  • 

It  has  been  seen  that  it  was  the  purpose  of  the  Legislature 
by  the  Acts  of  1884  and  1888,  above  referred  to,  to  vest  in  the 
purchasers  and  their  vendees  the  title  of  the  State  to  the  land 
sold  under  the  decree  in  the  case  of  Green  vs.  Gibbs.  To  fur- 
ther effectuate  this  purpose  the  following  laws  have  been  subse- 
quently enacted:  Chapter  77,  Laws  1894;  Chapter  162,  Laws 
1896;  and  Chapter  86,  Laws  1902.  All  of  these  statutes  are  of 
the  same  general  tenor,  having  for  their  end  the  quieting  and 
perfecting  of  the  titles  of  the  lands  in  the  Yazoo-Mississippi 
Delta. 

What  title  did  the  Auditor  convey  by  his  deeds?  In  many 
instances  there  had  been  repeated  forfeitures  of  the  same  land 
to  the  State.  Some  of  these  tax  sales  to  the  State  were  void, 
some  were  valid.  On  this  point  the  Supreme  Court  has  held 
that  a  deed  from  the  Auditor  to  land  acquired  by  the  State  at  a 
sale  for  taxes  passes  to  the  purchaser  such  title  as  the  State  has  ; 
and  if,  at  the  time  of  the  execution  of  the  deed,  the  State  holds 
a  title  acquired  at  any  sale,  it  passes  to  the  purchaser,  notwith- 
standing that  the  deed  may  recite  that  the  land  was  sold  to  the 
State  on  a  day  of  sale  different  from  that  on  which  the  title  was 
really  acquired,  and  when  the  sale  was  in  fact  void  and  passed 
no  title.84  Again  this  court,  in  construing  this  statute,  said: 


447. 
8456  Miss.,  371;   55  Miss.,  27;  68  Miss.,  739,  and  73  Miss.,  494. 


308  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

"The  intent  of  the  Legislature  was  to  convey  whatever  interest 
the  State  might  have  in  any  of  the  lands,  without  regard  to  the 
source  from  which  the  claim  of  title  by  the  State  might  have 
been  derived."85 

The  effect  of  these  remedial  Acts  and  the  decisions  of  the 
Supreme  Court  construing  them  is  to  pass  title  absolutely  into 
those  purchasing  both  from  the  levee  commissioners  and  from 
the  Auditor.  If  there  was  any  defect  in  the  liquidating  levee 
title  to  any  of  its  lands  that  was  not  cured  by  lapse  of  time  under 
the  Act  of  1860,  then  all  such  land  was  clearly  salable  under  the 
Abatement  Act  of  1875.  All  such  lands  were  in  fact  actually 
sold  under  the  Abatement  Act,  and  in  default  of  bidders  struck 
off  to  the  State.  The  title  to  these  lands  thus  acquired  by  the 
State  passed  to  purchasers  by  the  deeds  made  by  the  Auditor 
under  the  Act  of  1888.  The  Supreme  Court  has  expressly 
ruled  upon  this  point,  holding  that  where  lands  had  forfeited 
both  to  the  State  and  to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board,  it  is 
immaterial  which  of  these  two  has  title ;  a  purchaser  from  the 
State  under  the  Acts  of  1884  and  1888,  above  referred  to,  and 
from  Green  and  Hemingway  under  the  Green  vs.  Gibbs  decree, 
divests  any  title  that  the  former  delinquent  owner  may  have 
had,  and  acquires  a  perfect  title.86 

Few  instances  might  arise  where  those  under  disability  claim- 
ing under  delinquent  owners  would  not  be  barred  by  limitation. 
All  questions  of  infant  owners  have  been  closed  out  by  lapse  of 
time.  If  perchance  some  lunatic  was  owner  of  some  of  these 
lands  at  the  date  of  the  original  tax  sales,  and  is  yet  alive,  or 
the  right  of  redemption  has  been  recently  cast  upon  others  by 
his  death,  there  would  still  exist  in  such  cases  a  valid  claim  in 
the  nature  of  a  right  of  redemption.  But  this  right  would  carry 
with  it  the  obligation  to  pay  accumulated  taxes,  which  would 
probably  equal  the  value  of  the  land.  Besides,  the  instances 
in  which  lunatics  were  the  holders  of  land  must  be  rare. 

From  the  foregoing  it  will  be  seen  that  all  titles  to  the  lands 
of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board  have  been  concentrated  into 
one  title,  with  the  single  exception  of  the  paper  title  of  the  delin- 
quent owners,  founded  on  patents  from  the  government.  This 

8538  So.  Rep.,  506. 
8668  Miss.,  739. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          309 

old  title  of  the  delinquent  owners,  as  we  have  already  seen,  is 
practically  worthless.  Its  owners  are  in  many  instances  dead, 
and  their  descendants  will  probably  never  know  of  it.  It  has 
seldom  of  late  years  been  asserted,  and  invariably  repudiated 
by  the  courts  when  so  asserted.  It  will  be  remembered  that 
Low  and  Lyman  as  trustees  of  the  Mississippi  Bottom  Land 
Company  of  New  York,  were  probably  the  largest  of  the  delin- 
quent holders.  Their  claim  has  passed  down  through  the  days 
of  delinquency  even  unto  the  present  day.  The  Greenville 
Land  and  Trust  Company  of  Greenville,  Mississippi,  are  now 
the  owners  of  this  claim.  It  is  sometimes  asserted  by  this  com- 
pany, only  to  be  compromised  upon  the  payment  of  a  small 
sum  of  money,  for  which  the  company  executes  a  quit  claim 
deed,  thus  combining  in  the  present  owner  a  complete  and  per- 
fect paper  title. 

During  almost  the  entire  period  of  conflicting  land  titles  the 
Delta  country  had  practically  no  development,  but  with  the 
perfection  of  land  titles  came  improvement.  These  fertile 
lands  have  constantly  grown  in  demand  until  they  are  now 
sought  after  far  and  near.  Before  1880  there  were  no  railroads. 
The  lands  were  principally  wild  lands,  unimproved  and  seem- 
ingly unimprovable.  In  the  summer  and  autumn  of  1881  a 
very  large  quantity  of  these  lands  (probably  two  million  acres) 
was  bought  by  the  Louisville,  New  Orleans  &  Texas  Railroad 
Company  and  by  one  Eugene  C.  Gordon.  These  sales  were  made 
by  the  court,  acting  through  its  commissioners,  in  the  case  of 
Green  vs.  Gibbs.  Soon  after  this  the  construction  of  the  rail- 
road from  Memphis  to  New  Orleans  through  the  Delta  was 
commenced  and  pushed  to  an  early  completion.  This  proved 
only  a  beginning  of  railroad  construction  in  the  Delta.  The 
work  has  gone  on  year  by  year  with  accelerated  rapidity  and 
energy  until  to-day  this  territory  is  a  perfect  network  of  rail- 
road lines. 

The  title  to  the  large  quantity  of  land  bought  by  Eugene  C. 
Gordon,  referred  to  above,  soon  became  entangled.  On  Novem- 
ber 21,  1881,  Gordon  sold  his  land  to  Byron  H.  Evers,  an  En- 
glishman, who  in  turn  sold  to  several  more  Englishmen.  These 
lands  were  sold  on  March  n,  1886,  at  Oxford,  Mississippi,  under 
a  decree  of  the  Federal  Court,  when  Thomas  Watson  bought 


Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

them  in  for  a  trifle.  Watson  sold  to  the  Delta  and  Pine  Land 
Company,  of  which  he  was  an  officer  and  principal  stockholder, 
on  July  6,  1888.  A  quit  claim  deed  was  also  executed  a  few 
months  later  by  the  several  Englishmen  to  the  Delta  and  Pine 
Land  Company.  Several  years  later  a  bill  was  filed  in  the 
Federal  Court  of  the  United  States  by  these  Englishmen  pray- 
ing that  these  several  sales  be  set  aside  and  that  the  title  may 
revest  in  them.  From  a  decree  sustaining  a  demurrer  to  their 
bill  complainants  appealed  to  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United 
States.  The  following  is  taken  from  Justice  Brown's  statement 
of  the  facts  of  this  case:87 

"Plaintiffs  who  were  aliens,  British  subjects  and  residents  of  London, 
set  forth  that  in  1881  or  1882  they,  together  with  one  Watson  and  one 
Baldwin,  citizens  of  Illinois,  were  associated  together  in  the  purchase  of 
a  large  quantity  of  land  in  Mississippi,  known  as  the  Delta,  amounting 
to  500,000  or  600,000  acres,  together  with  certain  pine  lands  amounting 
to  about  150,000  acres.  That  certain  differences  having  arisen  as  to 
their  respective  interests,  Watson  filed  a  bill  in  the  Chancery  Court  of 
DeSoto  County  against  Evers,  William  Marshall,  George  F.  Phillips,  M.  S. 
Baldwin,  et  al.,  which  was  removed  into  the  Circuit  Court  of  the  United 
States,  wherein  a  decree  was  rendered  on  October  3,  1885,  in  favor  of 
Watson  for  the  sum  of  $145,000  which  was  charged  as  a  lien  upon  said 
lands,  and  in  the  event  of  the  failure  of  the  defendants  to  pay  such  sum 
within  six  months  from  the  date  of  the  decree,  the  lands  were  to  be  sold 
by  one  McKee,  as  special  commissioner,  for  the  satisfaction  of  the  decree. 
The  land  was  accordingly  sold,  and  most  of  it  bought  in  by  Watson,  such 
sale  being  afterwards  confirmed  by  the  court,  'that  said  decree  was  a  con- 
sent decree,  agreed  to  in  a  spirit  of  compromise,  and  accompanied  with 
and  based  upon  certain  agreements  to  be  hereinafter  explained.'  *  *  * 

"It  is  further  charged  that  before  the  sale  of  the  land  was  had,  Watson 
and  his  agents  and  representatives  conspired  with  one  Burroughs  to  pre- 
vent them  (the  plaintiffs)  from  being  present  at  said  sale,  and  to  deter 
them  from  bidding  for  the  lands,  the  result  of  which  fraudulent  collusion 
was  that  Watson  bought  the  land  at  a  mere  trifle  per  acre,  except  about 
162,000  acres,  which  it  was  fraudulently  agreed  that  Burroughs  and  his 
friends  should  buy  at  their  own  figures.  That  but  for  such  fraudulent 
collusion  the  Delta  lands  would  have  been  sold  for  more  than  enough 
to  satisfy  the  decree,  and  would  have  left,  at  least,  the  pine  lands  to 
plaintiffs  in  this  bill  and  the  other  defendants  in  said  suit,  after  fully 
paying  their  debt.  Instead  of  this,  they  succeeded  in  securing  all  the 
lands,  and  still  claim  a  large  balance  against  the  defendants  in  that  suit 
as  due  by  the  decree;  more,  in  fact,  than  Watson  originally  advanced 
for  the  purchase  of  the  land.  The  plaintiffs  were  not  aware  of  and  had 
no  knowledge  of  the  fraud  practiced  upon  them  by  Watson  until  recently, 
and  long  after  the  sale  had  been  ratified  and  confirmed,  and  that  this  is 
the  first  opportunity  to  bring  the  matter  before  the  court  and  ask  a  res- 
titution of  their  rights  and  an  equitable  redress  for  the  fraud. 

"That  the  decree  was  a  compromise  decree,  accompanied  by  stipula- 
tions, one  of  which  was  that  the  defendants  were  to  have  six  months  in 
which  to  pay  the  decree,  and  that,  when  they  acquiesced  and  consented 

87 156  U.  S.  Supreme  Court  Rep.,  529. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade  311 

to  such  decree,  it  was  their  intention  and  expectation,  and  it  was  so 
understood  by  all  parties,  to  organize  a  land  company  in  London  and  to 
sell  the  lands  referred  to  in  the  decree  for  money  enough  to  pay  off  said 
indebtedness,  and  the  balance  in  stock  and  debentures  and  working 
capital,  within  the  six  months  allowed  to  them  by  the  decree.  To  accom- 
plish this  and  to  carry  out  the  understanding,  a  company  was  organized 
at  great  expense  to  plaintiffs,  and  a  satisfactory  sale  of  the  lands  arranged 
to  be  made  to  such  company,  which  would  have  been  perfected  and 
Watson's  debt  paid  but  for  the  interference  of  Watson  and  his  agents, 
who,  by  circulating  false  reports  affecting  the  title  to  the  land,  prevented 
such  company  from  being  floated,  and  defeated  the  efforts  of  the  defend- 
ants in  such  suit  in  raising  money  to  comply  with  their  agreement  to  pay 
off  such  decree.  That  afterwards  a  son  of  Watson,  representing  his 
father  and  the  Delta  and  Pine  Land  Company,  visited  London,  and, 
recognizing  the  fact  that  the  plaintiffs  still  had  an  interest  in  the  lands, 
agreed  to  organize  another  English  company,  certain  shares  of  stock  in 
which  company  they  agreed  to  receive.  Th'at  plaintiffs,  being  ignorant 
of  the  fraud  that  had  been  practiced  upon  them  at  the  time  of  the  sale, 
and  relying  upon  the  statements  of  Watson's  son,  at  his  request  executed 
quit  claim  deeds  to  their  interests  in  such  land,  Watson  stating  that  he 
wanted  such  deeds  in  trust  solely  for  the  purpose  of  facilitating  the  sale 
of  the  lands  to  such  company,  and  promising  that  such  deeds  when  exe- 
cuted should  be  deposited  by  him  with  Walter  Webb  &  Company,  of 
Queen  Victoria  Street,  London,  the  solicitors  of  such  company.  That 
Watson,  instead  of  depositing  the  deeds  with  the  solicitors,  fraudulently 
and  in  violation  of  his  promise  and  agreement,  sent  the  deeds  to  Missis- 
sippi, and  caused  them  to  be  registered  in  the  several  counties  in  which 
the  lands  were  located.  That  this  was  done  without  the  knowledge  and 
consent  of  plaintiffs;  that  the  organization  of  the  company  was  never 
perfected,  negotiations  for  the  sale  of  the  lands  had  been  abandoned.  No 
stock  was  ever  issued,  plaintiffs  never  received  any  consideration  for  the 
deeds,  or  their  interest  in  the  lands.  Such  deeds  were  obtained  by  fraud 
and  false  pretenses  and  promises  made  by  Watson  were  without  considera- 
tion and  are  void.  That  plaintiffs  are  informed  that  Watson  and  the 
persons  associated  with  him  in  the  Delta  and  Pine  Land  Company  have 
sold  a  large  quantity  of  the  lands  at  a  good  price,  as  well  as  a  large  amount 
of  timber  from  the  lands  remaining  in  their  possession,  and  have  realized 
from  such  sales  more  than  enough  to  pay  the  decree  and  the  interest 
thereon." 

The  Supreme  Court  held  that  "the  decree  of  the  court  below 
sustaining  the  demurrer  and  dismissing  the  bill  was  correct, 
and  it  is  therefore  affirmed."  The  effect  of  this  decision  was, 
of  course,  an  adjudicated  elimination  of  the  Englishmen's  title 
to  all  these  lands. 

In  November,  1881,  Byron  H.  Evers  conveyed  an  undivided 
one-fourth  interest  in  his  lands  in  Mississippi  to  M.  S.  Baldwin 
of  the  State  of  Illinois.  In  October,  1885,  Baldwin  conveyed 
all  his  interest  in  these  lands  to  Leander  C.  Goodsell,  and  in 
March,  1893,  Goodsell  exhibited  his  bill  in  the  Chancery  Court 
of  Sunflower  County,  Mississippi,  against  the  Delta  and  Pine 
Land  Company  and  others  defendants,  praying  that  defend- 


312  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

ants'  title  acquired  through  the  consent  decree  in  the  Federal 
Court  be  annulled  and  held  for  naught.  The  defendants  de- 
murred to  complainant's  bill ;  the  demurrer  was  sustained  and 
complainant  appealed.  On  this  appeal  to  the  Supreme  Court 
of  Mississippi,  the  point  at  issue  was  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Fed- 
eral Court  in  the  former  case  on  removal  from  the  State  Court, 
and  this  court  held  that  it  did  not  appear  beyond  controversy 
"that  on  the'record  the  Federal  Court  could  not  have  had  juris- 
diction, so  as  to  render  such  decree  void,"  thus  disposing  of 
Goodsell's  claim  to  these  lands.88 

The  Delta  and  Pine  Land  Company  secured  quit  claims  from 
the  State  to  these  lands  in  1885,  and  in  1888,  under  the  curative 
Acts  of  1884  and  1885,  formerly  referred  to.  By  means  of  these 
several  conveyances  and  adjudications  all  title  to  these  lands, 
with  the  exception  of  the  claim  of  the  original  delinquent  owners, 
was  concentrated  and  perfected  in  the  Delta  and  Pine  Land 
Company . 

The  history  of  the  title  of  the  Delta  and  Pine  Land  Company 
has  been  given  somewhat  at  length  because  this  company  became 
the  owner  of  by  far  the  greater  part  of  the  lands  formerly  belong- 
ing to  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board.  The  lands  of  this  com- 
pany were  at  the  time  of  the  purchase  by  them  wild  lands,  and 
while  this  company  has  never  engaged  to  any  great  extent  in 
farming  or  other  improvements  of  their  lands,  yet,  better  still, 
they  have  sold  their  lands  to  actual  settlers.  With  the  improve- 
ment of  the  levee  in  recent  years  these  lands  have  almost  all  of 
them  become  cultivable.  Ditches  have  been  dug  and  the  lands 
drained.  With  the  partial  disappearance  of  stagnant  lakes  and 
bayous,  malaria  has  almost  been  eliminated,  and  with  the  sink- 
ing of  artesian  wells  on  almost  every  plantation,  affording  an 
abundance  of  pure  and  wholesome  water,  the  health  conditions 
of  the  country  have  greatly  improved.  The  building  of  rail- 
roads and  the  growth  of  towns  and  cities  have  brought  these 
lands  before  the  public.  Their  primal  forests  of  valuable  tim- 
ber have  led  to  the  establishment  throughout  the  Delta  of  all 
kinds  of  manufactures  of  wooden  wares.  The  great  fertility  of 
the  soil,  with  its  almost  inexhaustible  resources  for  farming, 
has  year  by  year  justified  the  planters  in  making  constantly 

88 72  Miss.,  580. 


Lands  of  the  Liquidating  Levee  Board. — Wade          313 

broadening  inroads  upon  the  wild  woods,  until  immense  cotton 
plantations  of  thousands  of  acres  dot  almost  every  section  of  this 
fertile  country.  The  quantity  and  quality  of  cotton  produced 
in  the  Delta  probably  surpass  that  of  any  other  region  in  the 
whole  world.  Add  to  these  excellencies  the  stability  and  per- 
fection of  the  title  to  these  lands  by  its  latest  owners,  and  the 
constant  and  increasing  demand  for  these  lands  will  be  readily 
understood.  The  Delta  and  Pine  Land  Company  has  been 
called  upon  continuously  to  supply  this  demand.  Thousands 
of  acres  of  these  lands  have  been  sold  year  after  year  by  this 
company  to  planters,  farmers  and  timbermen.  The  terms  have 
been  easy  and  the  price  reasonable,  varying  from  six  to  ten 
dollars  per  acre.  Some  of  these  sales  convey  small  bodies  of 
land,  the  smallest  legal  subdivision  of  forty  acres  in  some  in- 
stances, thus  giving  the  small  farmer  with  limited  means  oppor- 
tunity to  own  and  to  operate  his  farm.  Again,  thousands  of 
acres  are  conveyed  by  one  deed,  thus  affording  the  big  planters 
and  timbermen  fine  investments. 

The  last  fifteen  years  have  witnessed  marvelous  developments 
in  this  resourceful  country,  and  the  present  prospects  for  fur- 
ther growth  and  development  in  the  future  are  brighter  than 
ever  before.  No  other  section  of  the  country  has  had  greater 
difficulties  to  overcome  than  the  Delta,  and  by  no  means  the 
least  of  these  difficulties  has  been  the  perfection  of  the  titles  to 
the  lands.  Probably  no  other  country  ever  witnessed  such  a 
condition  of  land  titles,  yet  this  barrier  has  been  slowly  but 
effectually  removed.  It  is  exceedingly  interesting  to  recount 
the  entanglement  of  title,  and  as  delightful  to  see  the  triumph 
of  stability  and  simplicity  of  title.  The  jungles  of  the  Delta's 
luxuriant  wild  woods  seemed  hardly  less  impenetrable,  but  as 
these  wild  jungles  are  every  year  becoming  more  and  more  the 
prolific  mother  of  the  fruits  of  labor,  just  so  have  tangled  titles 
been  converted  into  those  of  stability  and  trust.  What  the 
strength  and  industry  of  the  muscle  is  now  doing  in  turning 
the  wildest  woods  into  the  most  fertile  fields,  the  invention  and 
the  ingenuity  of  the  legislative  mind  have  already  done  in  the 
perfection  of  the  titles.  Both  conquests  have  been  and  will  be 
made,  be  it  said  to  the  credit  of  our  people,  as  a  result  of  their 
honest  toil  without  the  repudiation  or  even  shirking  of  a  single 
obligation. 


HISTORIC  LOCALITIES  ON  NOXUBEE  RIVER. 
BY  WILLIAM  A.  LOVE. 

The  Choctaw  word,  Oka  Noxubee  (Oka  Nakshobi)  means 
stinking  water,  and  was  applied  by  the  aborigines  to  the  river 
of  that  name  on  account  of  the  bad  odor  arising  from  its  swampy 
bottoms  after  summer  overflows,  and  not  from  the  offensive 
smell  of  decaying  bodies  of  slain  enemies  cast  into  it,  as  claimed 
by  some  Mississippi  historians.1 

Noxubee  River  rises  in  the  eastern  portions  of  Choctaw,  and 
the  western  portion  of  Oktibbeha  Counties  and  flows  in  a  south- 
eastern direction  to  the  Tombigbee,  which  it  enters  a  few  miles 
above  Gainesville,  Ala.  It  was  wholly  within  ancient  Choctaw 
Territory  and  was,  generally  speaking,  the  dividing  line  between 
their  permanent  homes  in  the  pine  lands  to  the  south  and  their 
summer  hunting  grounds  to  the  north  and  east  of  the  river, 
embracing  the  prairies  of  the  present  Oktibbeha,  Lowndes  and 
Noxubee  Counties,  in  which  fish  and  game  abounded. 

In  their  annual  hunting  excursions  and  other  necessary  travels 
all  the  crossings  of  this  stream  became  familiar,  so  that  at  the 
advent  of  the  white  man's  wagon  all  that  was  necessary  in  order 
to  find  a  ford  was  to  follow  the  Indian  trails. 

The  crossing  first  in  importance,  within  the  historic  period  at 
least,  is  in  the  southern  part  of  Oktibbeha  County,  very  near 
the  Noxubee  line.  It  is  locally  known  as  the  turnpike.  This 
place  was  brought  into  prominence  in  1826  by  the  opening  of 
the  Robinson  or  United  States  Government  road  from  Colum- 
bus to  Jackson.  The  first  owner  and  occupant  of  the  place  was 
Daniel  Nail,  a  half  breed  Choctaw.  In  1832  Grabel  Lincecum 
bought  his  interest,  whatever  that  may  have  been,  for  $500,  and 
built  a  bridge,  the  first  perhaps  on  the  river,  or  in  the  nation. 
What  concessions  the  Choctaws  or  the  United  States  Govern- 

1See  Lowrey  &  McCardle's  History  of  Mississippi,  pp.  120-121.  The 
Rev.  Allen  Wright  in  his  Choctaw  Dictionary  defines  Nakshobi  "to  have 
a  peculiar  odor,  as  a  sea  beach,  or  the  smell  of  fish."  The  word  is  never 
applied  by  the  Choctaws  to  the  odor  emanating  from  dead  animal  matter, 
as  a  corpse,  or  carcass.  The  old-time  Choctaw  was  usually  satisfied  with 
the  scalp  of  his  antagonist,  and  never  took  the  trouble  and  exertion  neces- 
sary to  pollute  his  waters  with  dead  bodies. 

(315) 


3*6  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

merit  allowed  him  is  not  known,  but  he  at  least  exercised  the 
privilege  of  charging  toll.  On  the  organization  of  Oktibbeha 
County  in  1833  an  annual  appropriation  of  $500  was  made  by 
this  county  for  the  benefit  of  its  citizens.  In  1834  Lincecum  sold 
this  toll  bridge  to  McKinney  Holderness  for  $1,000,  Holderness 
sold  it  to  Richard  Watkins  for  $2,000.  Grabel  Lincecum  and 
Dr.  John  Watkins  bought  it  from  Watkins  for  $5,000.  They 
sold  it  to  Grooch  for  $20,000.  Grooch  sold  it  to  Dulaney  for 
$30,000.  He  then  sold  it  to  James  Stewart  for  $800. 

These  facts  and  figures  are  given  to  indicate  in  a  measure  the 
rise  and  fall  of  the  tide  of  immigration  and  traffic  from  the  east 
that  was  pouring  into  the  newly  acquired  territory.  With  such 
a  bonanza  as  a  toll  bridge  on  this  great  thoroughfare  it  would 
seem  that  the  owner's  ambition  to  make  money  could  be  abund- 
antly gratified.  But  this  business  venture  was  destined  to  have 
its  vicissitudes.  There  were  other  residents  of  the  new  country 
who  were  not  there  for  pleasure  alone.  One  of  the  many  taverns 
on  this  thoroughfare  was  situated  a  few  miles  east  of  the  bridge. 
In  order  to  popularize  his  "stand"  with  the  traveling  public 
the  proprietor  of  this  house  would  intimate  to  the  traders  in 
horses,  hogs  and  negroes  who  stopped  with  him  that  at  certain 
stages  of  water  the  river  was  fordable  a  short  distance  below 
the  bridge.  A  hint  to  such  travelers  approaching  a  toll  bridge 
was  sufficient.  But  such  conduct,  causing  much  loss  to  the 
bridge  interest,  soon  brought  on  disputes,  lawsuits  and  bad 
feeling  generally. 

One  mile  and  a  half  east  of  the  bridge,  on  the  Robinson  road, 
was  the  Choctaw  Agency,  established  soon  after  the  treaty  of 
Doak's  Stand  in  1820.  Here  the  Choctaws  received  a  part  of 
their  annuities  from  the  United  States  Government  prior  to  the 
Dancing  Rabbit  Treaty  of  1830.  This  was  a  prominent  place 
and  known  throughout  the  nation.  In  1827  a  National  Choc- 
taw  Council  was  held  there  with  Col.  Thomas  L.  McKinney  rep- 
resenting the  United  States  Government  in  regard  to  ceding 
their  lands  and  emigrating  west,  but  without  definite  immediate 
results. 

Humming  Bird,  a  noted  Choctaw  chief,  was  buried  there  with 
military  honors  in  1828  by  Colonel  Ward,  the  Choctaw  agent. 
From  1830  to  1833  it  was  occupied  by  Colonel  Ward  in  the 


Historic  Localities  on  Noxubee  River. — Love.  317 

capacity  of  agent  for  the  registration  of  Choctaw  families  that 
desired  to  remain  as  citizens  of  Mississippi  after  the  treaty  of 
Dancing  Rabbit.  His  unenviable  reputation  as  a  public  official 
is  too  well  known  to  warrant  further  mention  in  this  connection. 2 
He  was  lost  to  public  view  with  the  passing  of  the  Indians  but 
the  evil  effects  of  his  arbitrary  acts  remained  for  years  after  his 
death. 

Following  the  Ward  regime  the  Agency  was  occupied  by  sev- 
eral persons  successively  as  a  "house  of  entertainment."  Many 
uncanny  tales  were  extant  of  thefts  and  robberies  committed, 
and  even  of  the  sudden  disappearance  of  travelers  in  this  vicinity. 
In  the  light  of  the  well  authenticated  fact  that  John  A.  Murrel's 
gang  of  robbers  once  operated  along  that  road,  and  the  recent 
discovery  of  human  bones  in  an  old  long-abandoned  well  on  the 
premises,  these  traditions  are  not  lacking  in  verisimilitude. 

An  object  of  historic  interest  on  the  same  road,  last  of  the 
Agency,  is  the  home  of  the  Choctaw  chief,  David  Folsom.  The 
prominence  attained  by  Folsom  justifies  the  following  brief 
sketch  in  this  connection: 

From  Dr.  I.  W.  Folsom,  of  Ardmore,  Indian  Territory,  it  is 
learned  that  Rev.  Jacob  Chapman,  of  Hexeter,  New  Hamp- 
shire, whose  mother  was  a  Folsom,  wrote  a  complete  genealogy 
of  the  family,  commencing  in  the  year  1635.  The  ancestral 
stock  came  from  Hingham,  England,  in  that  year,  and  landed  at 
Hingham,  Mass.  Subsequently  Nathaniel,  Daniel  and  James 
came  to  the  Choctaws  and  married  among  them.  To-day  the 
name  is  borne  by  men  who  are  prominent  among  the  physicians , 
lawyers  and  jurists  in  the  West.  Many  men  of  that  name  were 
in  the  Confederate  army.  David  Folsom  was  born  at  Pigeon 
Roost  on  the  Natchez  Trace,  January  25,  1791.  At  the  con- 
clusion of  the  Choctaw  Council,  held  at  the  prairie  home  of 
Moshulitubbee  in  1811,  to  consider  the  war  propositions  of 
Tecumseh,  Folsom,  then  scarcely  twenty  years  of  age,  was 
appointed  to  conduct  that  eminent  war  chief  across  the  Tom- 
bigbee  and  out  of  the  nation.  In  a  fight  with  a  band  of  Creeks 
near  the  present  site  of  Memphis,  Ala.,  he  dispersed  the  ma- 
rauders and  completed  his  mission  with  credit  to  himself  and 
to  his  warriors. 

2  See  Riley's  Choctaw  Land  Claims,  in  the  Publications  of  the  Mississippi 
Historical  Society,  Vol.  VIII. 


3*8  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

He  was  more  zealous  and  successful  than  any  other  public 
man  of  his  race  in  advocating  and  advancing  the  cause  of  edu- 
cation and  Christianity.  In  1818  he  accompanied  Rev.  Cyrus 
Kingsbury,  a  missionary,  in  looking  out  a  site  for  the  May  hew 
Mission.  In  1825  or  1826  he  built  a  new  home  on  the  Robinson 
road.  The  house  was  made  of  hewn  logs,  two  rooms  with  a  hall 
between  but  in  after  years  a  top  frame  story  was  added.  It  is  now 
in  a  good  state  of  preservation  and  is  the  oldest  house  in  Oktibbeha 
County.  This  place  was  called  "Gibeon."  As  a  result  of  the 
owner's  prominence  it  was  visited  by  many  persons  of  official 
and  religious  note.  Here  a  Choctaw  school  was  established  and 
continued  until  the  coming  in  1829  of  the  Rev.  Cyrus  Byington, 
of  the  American  Board  of  Foreign  Missions,  who  organized  a 
mission  school  called  "Yakni  O  Kchaiya,"  meaning  Living 
Land.  This  was  situated  about  a  mile  and  a  half  to  the  west. 
Here  Mr.  Byington  taught  and  preached  during  the  years 
1829-30-31.  The  site  is  known  to-day  as  the  "Missionary 
Field."  Just  across  the  road  from  Gibeon  was  established  an 
American  village  by  the  name  of  Folsom,  which  is  now  extinct. 
D.  Folsom  was  elected  Mingo  of  the  Northeastern  district  in 
1826.  In  1830,  in  public  council,  he  resigned  the  chieftainship. 
Soon  after  this  occurred  the  civil  disturbance  at  the  Factory 
near  Old  Fort  Confederation  relative  to  the  distribution  of  the 
annuities.  Folsom,  with  his  warriors  assembled  at  the  Council 
House  on  Noxubee  River,  whence  they  marched  southward  and 
united  with  Greenwood  Leflore  and  his  warriors.  The  united 
force  then  marched  to  the  Factory  and  promptly  quelled  the 
disturbance.  It  was  at  this  time  and  place  that  the  noted 
meeting  of  Folsom  and  Nittakechi  took  place,  as  graphically 
described  by  Colonel  Claiborne.3 

From  some  contemporary  accounts  which  were  evidently  not 
accessible  to  Colonel  Claiborne,  but  which  can  be  found  in  the 
Alabama  Department  of  Archives  and  History,  it  is  certain  that 
he  is  in  error  as  to  the  year,  the  locality  and  the  specific  cause 
of  the  discontent  of  Noshulitubbee  and  Nittakechi's  partisans. 
The  sole  cause  of  this  civil  disturbance  was  the  appropriation 
of  the  special  annuity  allowed  by  the  treaty  of  Doak's  Stand 

3See  Claiborne's  Mississippi  as  a  Province,  Territory,  and  State,  pp. 
508-509. 


Historic  Localities  on  Noxubee  River. — Love.  319 

to  the  Mission  Schools.  The  full  blood  chiefs,  while  in  favor  of 
education,  had  become  hostile  to  these  schools  on  account  of 
the  religious  features  which  were  incorporated  in  the  school  cur- 
riculum. Nothing  spectacular  occurred  at  the  settling  of  the 
disturbance.  The  disaffected  chiefs  simply  yielded  to  the  power 
of  the  stronger  party. 

Folsom  commanded  one  of  the  emigration  parties  to  the  west 
and  was  elected  national  chief  under  the  ballot  system,  the  first 
to  enjoy  that  distinction.  He  died  at  Doaksville,  Indian  Terri- 
tory, September  24,  1847. 

On  the  Noxubee  River,  one  mile  below  the  Pike,  at  a  point 
known  as  "Lin.cecum's  old  mill,"  was  the  crossing  place  of  the 
"Treaty  Road."  The  old  ford  is  still  very  plain  and  is  doubtless 
a  prehistoric  site.  This  road  was  cut  out  according  to  Govern- 
ment contract  by  a  man  named  Loring,  from  the  Agency  to  the 
Dancing  Rabbit  Treaty  ground  and  was  used  by  the  United 
States  Commissioners,  J.  H.  Eaton,  Secretary  of  War,  and  other 
officials.  It  was  subsequently  used  by  Choctaw  parties  that 
rendezvoused  at  the  Agency  preparatory  to  emigrating  to  the 
West,  also  by  Choctaws  in  attending  councils  at  the  Council 
House,  which  was  situated  on  the  east  bank  of  Noxubee  River, 
about  a  mile  below  the  crossing.  This  locality  is  known  as 
Council  Bluff.  The  house  was  contemporaneous  with  the 
Agency  and  connected  with  it  by  a  road. 

Although  there  were  several  Indian  crossings  below  Council 
Bluff  on  the  Treaty  road,  only  two  of  them  are  worthy  of  special 
mention.  One  was  the  Six  Town  Trail,  which  was  about  600 
yards  above  Bugg's  Ferry,  a  point  well  known  on  the  river.  As 
its  name  implies,  this  trail  led  from  the  Six  Towns  district  of  the 
Choctaws  into  the  Chickasaw  Nation.  Here  Tecumseh  and  his 
Shawnee  braves  crossed  on  their  noted  mission  to  the  Choctaws. 

According  to  the  valuable  investigations  of  Mr.  H.  S.  Halbert, 
Tonti,  the  heroic  explorer,  crossed  Noxubee  here  on  his  route 
from  Mobile  to  the  country  of  the  Chickasaws  in  1702.  Two 
and  a  half  miles  above  Macon  was  the  crossing  of  the  Big  Trading 
Path.  The  genesis  of  this  path,  like  that  of  some  other  noted 
Indian  trails,  was  in  the  remote  prehistoric  past.  The  first 
historic  notice  of  it  is  found  in  Du  Pratz's  History  of  Louisiana. 


320  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Adair,  in  his  American  Indians,  also  speaks  of  it  as  "The  Mobile 
Path." 

It  is  interesting  to  note  that  in  the  course  of  time  much  of  the 
Big  Trading  Path  became  part  of  the  Military  Road.  At  this 
crossing  was  established  Starnes'  blacksmith  shop.  Starncs 
was  appointed  by  the  Government  as  a  blacksmith  to  the  Choc- 
taws.  The  crossing  came  to  be  known  as  Starnes'  Ferry.  It 
is  not  to  the  credit  of  Mississippi  that  all  knowledge  is  forcvc  r 
lost  of  the  exact  site  of  the  treaty  ground  of  Mount  Dexter, 
which  was  very  near  this  ferry,  but  whether  on  the  north  or  the 
south  side  of  it  is  not  known. 

Just  half  a  mile  below  this  ferry  on  the  north  side  of  the  river, 
where  once  stood  a  log  cabin  under  the  spreading  branches  of 
a  large  black  oak  tree,  is  the  traditional  birthplace  of  Push- 
mataha,  the  most  prominent  character  in  Choctaw  history. 
The  date  of  his  birth  was  about  1764.  Of  his  lineage,  social 
status  and  the  incidents  of  his  early  life  nothing  is  known.  He 
first  came  into  prominence  as  a  warrior,  but  soon  rose  to  the 
position  of  a  leader  of  war  parties,  his  most  noteworthy  raids 
being  upon  the  Osages  west  of  the  Mississippi.  In  recognition 
doubtless  of  these  successful  exploits  he  was  raised  to  the  posi- 
tion of  Mingo  of  the  Six  Town,  or  Okla  Hannali  district.  At 
the  National  Council  in  1811,  before  which  Tecumseh  advocated 
his  war  proposition,  Pushmataha  was  the  principal  speaker  on 
the  part  of  the  Choctaws,  and  to  him  more  than  to  any  other 
person  is  due  the  action  of  the  council  in  banishing  the  great 
Shawnee  chief  from  the  nation  on  penalty  of  death  should  he 
fail  to  obey  promptly.  When  the  Creek  war  of  1813  broke  out 
Pushmataha  was  the  most  prominent  of  the  Choctaw  chiefs  that 
served  in  the  American  army.  He  was  commissioned  Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel and  gained  great  distinction  at  the  battle  of  the 
Holy  Ground.  He  was  a  prominent  character  of  the  treaty  of 
Doak's  Stand  in  1820.  He  died  in  Washington  City  December 
24,  1824,  while  there  on  public  business  with  a  delegation  of 
his  people.  He  was  buried  in  the  Congressional  Cemetery  with 
military  honors  and  a  monument  was  erected  to  his  memory 
by  his  brother  chiefs. 

The  last  noted  locality  on  Noxubee  river  to  be  mentioned  in 
this  connection  is  on  its  east  bank,  about  300  yards  above  the 


Historic  Localities  on  Noxubee  River. — Love.  321 

influx  of  Shuqualak  creek.  This  place  is  noted  as  being  the 
ball  ground  of  the  Creeks  and  Choctaws,  where  they  played  a 
great  international  game  about  the  year  1792.  There  were 
fifty  champion  players  from  each  side  and  several  thousand 
spectators  from  the  two  nations.  After  a  long  and  hard  struggle 
the  Creeks  won.  A  Choctaw  resented  the  taunts  of  a  Creek  and 
from  this  a  general  battle  ensued  between  the  warriors  of  the 
two  nations,  which  lasted  during  the  evening  and  night,  with  the 
loss  of  many  on  both  sides.  By  the  intervention  of  the  two 
chiefs  hostilities  finally  ceased,  the  dead  were  buried  and  the 
surviving  participants  departed  in  peace. 

The  well  attested  tradition  of  the  battle  marks  this  place  as 
one  of  the  most  historic  spots  on  Noxubee  River,  a  spot  ever  to 
be  remembered  wherein  the  olden  time  under  the  primitive  rule 
of  redress  the  red  men  of  Mississippi  and  the  red  men  of  Alabama 
met  in  deadly  strife.  Relics  of  the  dead  warriors  have  been 
exhumed  from  their  resting  places  on  the  ball  ground,  thus  cor- 
roborating the  truthfulness  of  the  old  tradition. 


A  GENUINE  ACCOUNT  OF  THE   PRESENT  STATE  OF 

THE  RIVER  MISSISSIPPI  AND  OF  THE  LANDS  ON 

ITS   BANKS  FROM   THE   SEA  TO  THE   RIVER 

YASONS,  THE  N.  W.  BOUNDARY  OF  THE 

PROVINCE  OF  WEST  FLORIDA.1 

At  the  mouth  of  the  River  Mississippi  are  a  Number  of  Small 
Islands  or  Mud  Banks,  upon  one  of  which  to  the  Northward  of 
the  three  Usual  passes  into  the  River  the  Spaniards  have  erected 
a  small  House,  as  a  Station  for  a  Boat,  Twelve  Soldiers,  a  pilot 
and  Six  or  Eight  Boatsmen,  and  upon  another  of  them  (to  the 
Southward  of  the  Said  three  passes)  there  is  also  a  Small  House, 
formerly  a  French  Station,  upon  which  a  flag  staff  is  erected  and 
from  whence  the  Spanish  Pilot  or  his  Assistant  keep  a  look  out 
to  Sea  for  Vessels,  these  Houses  or  Stations  are  respectively 
known  by  the  Appellation  of  the  French  (or  Old)  and  the  Span- 
ish (or  new)  Balyc. 

The  Northeast  pass  have  nine  feet  water  with  a  hard  Sandy 
bottom,  the  East,  (or  middle),  pass  has  Twelve  Feet  Water  with 
a  soft  Muddy  bottom ;  and  the  Southeast  pass  has  Eleven  Feet 
Water  with  a  soft  Muddy  bottom — But  as  the  Bars  of  all  these 
passes  are  perpetually  Shifting,  it  would  be  very  imprudent  for 
any  Vessel  drawing  more  than  Seven  feet  Water  to  attempt  to 
go  in  over  the  same  without  the  Assistance  of  a  Pilot. 

The  Current  through  all  these  passes  is  extremely  rapid ;  set- 
ting when  to  the  Norward  of  them  Very  Strong  to  the  Northeast ; 
and  when  to  the  Southward  of  them  as  strong  to  Southwest  into 
the  dangerous  Bay  of  St  Bernard. 

About  two  leagues  up  the  River  and  on  the  Eastern  side 
thereof  is  the  pass  Loutre,  which  cannot  be  Navigated  by  Vessels 
drawing  more  than  Six  feet  water. 

Opposite  this  pass  an  English  pilot  has  Stationed  himself  in  a 
Floating  tenement,  the  Spaniards  not  suffering  him  to  Settle 

•The  manuscript  from  which  this  anonymous  document  was  copied 
contains  the  following  explanatory  note:  "Copied  from  a  manuscript 
among  the  papers  of  George  Chalmers,  Secretary  of  the  Board  of  Trade 
of  Great  Britain,  and  found  in  the  Peter  Force  collection  in  the  Manu- 
script Department  of  the  Library  of  Congress,  at  Washington,  MS.  No.  i 
of  Mississippi  Papers.  The  original  is  without  date,  but  was  written 
about  the  year  1773,  as  shown  by  internal  evidence." — EDITOR. 

(323) 


324  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

himself  on  either  of  this  part  of  the  River  and  Keeps  a  Bermuda 
Built  Shallop  in  which  he  cruises  off  the  Rivers  mouth  for  Ves- 
sels coming  from  Sea. 

About  two  leagues  above  the  pass  Loutre  on  the  Opposite  of 
the  River  is  the  Southwest  pass,  at  present  little  known  and 
totally  unus'd  by  Vessels;  though  it  is  apprehended  the  Bar  of 
the  same  has  a  great  depth  of  Water  as  these  first  described. 

From  the  pass  Loutre  to  the  first  Hut ;  Six  leagues  the  lands 
on  both  sides  the  River  are  low  and  Swampy ;  without  trees  and 
absolutely  uncultivatiable,  the  sea  here  being  no  where  more 
than  half  a  mile  from  the  River,  and  having  frequent  Commun- 
ications with  it  by  small  Creeks. 

From  this  Hut  to  what  is  Called  the  First  Habitation  (three 
Leagues)  the  lands  are  likewise  chiefly  uncultivatiable  from 
their  too  great  similarity  to  the  former. 

From  this  Habitation  to  the  Concession  (fourteen  Leagues) 
the  lower  of  the  Lands  is  also  somewhat  similar  to  these  last 
mentioned,  and  is  Consequently  very  thinly  Inhabited  and 
badly  cultivated;  but  the  upper  part  of  them  pretty  thickly 
settled  by  the  French  and  Dutch  Inhabitants;  few  of  these 
however  have  any  Negroes;  none  perhaps  more  than  half  a 
dozen ;  they  go  chiefly  on  the  cultivation  of  Corn  and  Rice,  and 
on  Raising  Stock,  and  Poultry,  such  part  whereof  as  they  can 
Spare  from  the  support  of  their  own  family's  they  sell  to  the 
Vessels  trading  up  and  down  the  River,  and  by  that  means 
Supply  themselves  with  some  Necessarys  and  Luxaries. 

From  the  Concession  to  the  Town  of  New  Orleans,  (six  Leagues,) 
is  a  tract  very  thickly  settled  on  both  Sides  of  the  River  by 
French  Inhabitants,  and  in  the  highest  State  of  Cultivation; 
Indigo  is  their  Chief  object  though  are  here  and  there  some  Saw 
Mills  for  Makeing  Cypruss  Lumber ;  and  those  planters  may  be 
considered  in  some  degree  wealthy  generally  possessing  from 
ten  to  Fifty  Slaves  which  from  the  amazing  fertility  of  the  Soil 
in  the  produce  of  Indigo,  yield  them  a  very  Comfortable  (if  not 
a  genteel)  Revenue. 

The  town  of  New  Orleans  (the  Capitol  of  the  Spanish  Terri- 
tories on  the  Banks  of  the  River)  is  Thirty  two  leagues  from  the 
Sea  &  Beautifully  Situated  on  the  Eastern  Side  thereof,  its 
streets  are  laid  out  at  Right  Angles  &  are  Spacious  enough, 


Present  State  of  the  River  Mississippi.  325 

when  under  the  French  Government,  it  was  well  built  &  very 
populous;  but  since  it  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Spaniards,  has 
been  gradually  declining,  insomuch  that  it  is  at  this  time  sup- 
posed to  Contain  not  more  than  1 500  Souls. 

The  French  settlements  continue  on  both  sides  the  River,  are 
also  in  the  Highest  State  of  Cultivation.  Indigo  being  likewise 
the  Sole  object  of  these  planters,  some  few  of  whom  possess  even 
100  Slaves. 

The  Dutch  [German]  settlements  join  the  French  ones  & 
extends  about  Six  Leagues  further  up  the  River  through  these 
people  are  not  generally  possessed  of  so  many  Slaves  as  the 
French,  yet  they  are  annually  becoming  wealthy;  being  very 
Industrious  &  like  the  French  going  principally  on  the  Cultiva- 
tion of  Indigo. 

The  Acadians  settlement  joins  the  Dutch  ones  Extending 
about  Eight  Leagues  upwards  on  both  sides  of  the  River,  &  as 
high  up  as  the  Ilberville  on  the  Eastern  side  thereof;  these 
Acadians  were  Newtral  French,  once  settled  on  the  Bay  of  Fundy 
in  Nova  Scotia  who  Finding  they  could  not  procure  Lands  in 
the  Inglish  Colonies  on  Reasonable  terms,  Emergrated  about 
Eight  Years  ago  [1765]  to  this  River  &  meeting  with  great 
encouragement  from  the  Spanish  Government,  sat  down  on  its 
Banks;  being  allowed  in  proportion  to  each  Family  four  or  six 
Acres  (of  180  feet  each)  upon  the  Front  of  the  River  &  forty 
Acres  in  Depth  from  the  Same — a  plantation  of  Six  Acres  in 
front  Forty  in  Depth  containing  about  two  Hundred  square 
Acres,  as  these  people  brought  no  property  with  them  few  of 
them  have  yet  been  able  to  purchase  any  Slaves ;  some  of  them 
however  do  possess  two  three  or  four,  but  none  more  than  half 
a  dozen. 

They  have  hitherto  gone  wholly  on  the  Cultivation  of  Corn 
and  the  raising  of  Stock  &  Poultry,  which  they  Sell  to  the  Ship- 
ping the  Lower  Plantations  &  at  the  Town  of  New  Orleans — 
indeed  a  Considerable  part  of  their  time  has  been  hitherto  em- 
ployed in  clearing  their  Lands;  however  upon  the  whole  they 
Justly  merit  the  Characters  ot  Industrious  &  useful  Settlers; 
probably  in  a  political  (if  not  a  Commercial)  veiw,  will  one  day 
be  the  Bulwark  of  this  province. 


326  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

From  the  termination  of  the  Accadian  settlement  on  the 
western  side  of  the  River  to  Point  Coupee  a  Distance  of  Twelve 
leauges  the  Country  is  uninhabited,  if  you  except  two  or  the 
[three]  Scattered  Hutts. 

Point  Coupee  one  of  the  oldest  settlements  on  the  Banks  of 
this  River  under  the  Spanish  Government  is  perhaps  the  most 
beautiful,  as  well  as  fertile  spot  constiguous  to  the  Mississippi 
though  the  lands  have  been  in  constant  Cultivation  for  Forty 
Years  past,  yet  they  do  not  appear  to  have  sufferd  the  least 
degree  of  deminution  in  the  Fertility  of  the  Soil.  The  planters 
here  even  now  sometimes  make  100  Ib.  of  Choice  Indigo  from 
one  Acre  and  about  75  Ib.  may  be  considered  as  their  Average — 
one  Negro  will  plant  &  attend  two  acres  of  Indigo  &  withal  can 
Raise  his  own  provisions  the  planters  generally  possess  from  20 
to  100  Slaves  and  some  more;  last  year  50000  pounds  of  Copper 
Indigo  of  the  best  quality  (about  one  Fourth  of  all  the  Indigo 
raised  on  the  bank  of  the  River)  was  made  in  this  Settlement. 
These  Lands  are  bounded  by  a  Cypress  swamp  lying  parallel 
with  the  River  at  about  a  mile  distance  from  it,  &  that  swamp  is 
bouned  by  the  great  plains  of  apatachie  ( ?)  where  live  a  Consid- 
erable number  of  French  Settlers,  who  raise  Mules  &  Cattle,  & 
bring  them  down  annually  for  sale  to  Point  Coupee.  There  are 
no  settlers  higher  up  on  the  western  side  the  River. 

Previous  to  a  Description  of  the  English  Territory  it  will  be 
Necessary  to  make  the  Following  general  Observation  Restrict- 
ing the  land  From  the  First  Habitation  to  the  Ilberville  Vizt 
That  the  extension  of  the  Settlements  backwards  on  both  sides 
of  the  River  is  Confined  by  a  Cypress  swamp,  running  parallel 
therewith,  so  as  to  give  no  place  more  than  a  Mile  and  in  many 
places  not  half  a  mile  of  plantable  Land  in  depth  from  the  River 
that  these  Cypress  Swamps  are  bound  by  the  great  bay  of  St 
Bernard  and  the  salt  lakes,  and  ponds  communicating  there- 
with on  the  one  hand  and  by  the  Lakes  ponchartrain  and  Maur- 
pas  on  the  other,  and  that  the  Lands  immediately  on  the  Banks 
of  the  River  being  generally  higher  than  these  that  lye  at  some 
distance  from  it,  None  of  the  over  Flowing  Water  of  the  Mis- 
sissippie  ever  return  into  the  Channel. 

The  River,  (or  Rather  the  Creek,)  Ilberville,  on  the  Eastern 
side  of  the  Mississippi,  bounds  part  of  the  Isle  of  Orleans  and 


Present  State  of  the  River  Mississippi.  327 

forms  the  Division  of  the  English  and  Spanish  settlements  it  Run 
into  the  Amit  and  is  almost  dry  for  Seven  months  in  the  year 
being  never  Navigable  even  for  Canoes  except  when  the  Missis- 
sippi is  high. 

Here  [on  the  Iberville]  is  the  English  Tour  (or  rather  intended 
Town)  of  Manshac.  Thirty  Five  Leauges  from  New  Orleans, 
where  the  English  Territories  on  the  Banks  of  the  Mississippi 
commences. 

The  First  settlement  from  thence  (two  Leagues  and  a  half 
from  the  Iberville)  is  Mr.  David  Williame's  &  from  the  lower  line 
of  this  Settlement,  to  the  lower  Boundary  of  Mr.  Mitchel  Tract 
the  Lands  are  Level  or  Rather  low  but  Sufficiently  dry  &  Firm 
and  withal  extremely  Fertile  this  Space  are  Six  Settlements. 

From  the  lower  line  of  Mr.  W's  tract  to  the  upper  boundary  of 
Mr.  Watts's  plantation  (two  Miles)  a  level  beautiful  amazingly 
Fertile,  and  about  a  Mile  in  Depth,  runs  parallel  with  the  River 
at  the  extent  whereof  commences  a  Gradual  rise  terminating  in 
another  level  equally  beautiful  the  whole  being  Covered  with 
lofty  oaks  Magnolia's  Cane's  &C.  This  tract  is  Capable  of  the 
highest  degree  of  Cultivation  either  for  Health  wealth  or  amuse- 
ment, the  upper  Level  being  adorned  with  several  natural 
mounts  Commanding  very  extensive  views'  of  the  River  (which 
here  makes  a  fine  angle)  and  of  the  Lands  opposite  &  adjacent. 
Yet  there  are  only  two  Settlements  in  this  place  tho'  the  whole 
of  it  is  Located. 

From  the  upper  Line  of  Mr.  W's  settlement  to  Mr.  Poussets 
plantation  (two  Leagues)  a  Cypress  Swamp  a  quarter  of  a  Mile 
in  depth  runs  parallel  with  &  very  near  to  the  river,  the  Settlers 
here  living  on  the  high  Lands  aback  of  the  same,  which  cut's  off 
their  Communication  with  the  River  for  a  Considerable  part  of 
the  year  in  this  space  are  Five  Settlements. 

Mr.  Poussets  is  settled  on  part  of  Govenour  Johnson's  10000 
Acre  tract  the  Land  whereof  are  generally  high  to  the  Waters 
Edge. 

From  Mr.  P's  to  Mr.  Comming's  plantation  opposite  to  the 
first  Island  in  the  River  (three  Leagues  &  2-4)  the  front  Lands 
are  generally  overflowed  &  are  Called  Devils  Swamp  within  this 
tract  Govenour  Brown  has  Located  2000  Acres. 

Between  Mr.  C's  Plantation  &  Crowns  Cliffs  (one  League) 
where  Govenour  Brown's  has  Located  another  tract  of  17000 


328  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

acres  there  are  about  half  a  Dozen  pretty  good  Settlements;  at 
the  upper  end  of  those  Cliffs  is  Thompson's  Creek  Navigable  for 
Batteaux  when  the  River  is  high  &  for  Canooes  when  it  is  low  to 
that  vast  of  Country  called  the  plains,  lying  back  of  Govenour 
Browns  last  mentioned  tract  &  Cultivated  for  Raising  &  feeding 
Great  quantity's  of  Hogs  Cattle  &Ct. 

Between  this  Creek  &  Mr.  Williams  Settlement  which  is  very 
beautifull  &  fertile  one  nearly  opposite  another  Island  in  the 
River  (a  distance  of  about  Twelve  Leagues),  there  are  half  a 
dozen  more  good  Settlements. 

From  Mr.  W's  plantation  to  the  Natchez  Fort  (forty  five 
Leagues)  are  only  two  Settlements  of  any  note  on  the  Bank  of 
the  River. 

Previous  to  a  description  of  the  Natches  Lands  it  will  be  good 
to  make  tho  these  general  Observations  Vizt  that  from  Thomp- 
sons Creek  to  the  Natches  Fort  a  Cypress  Swamp  about  half  a 
Mile  in  depth  runs  parallel  with  the  River  and  Generally  Cut's 
of  its  Communication  with  the  Several  plantations  for  some  part 
of  the  year  and  that  from  the  Mainshore  to  that  Fort,  the  Lands 
aback  of  all  the  Settlements  are  either  high  &  woody  (yet  very 
Fertile)  or  Spacious  plains,  here  &  there  interpossed  with  forest 
Lakes  &  ponds  abounding  with  Fish  &  wild  fowl. 

The  Natches  lake  a  French  Settlement  (Seventy  Leagues  from 
the  Main  shore,  105  from  New  Orleans  &  140  from  the  Sea)  was 
formily  the  happy  seat  of  a  Tribe  of  Indians,  call'd  after  that 
name  and  esteemed  the  most  Warlike  on  the  Continent  of 
America,  but  where  totally  exterpated  by  the  French. 

Within  this  district  (which  takes  in  a  very  Large  tract  of 
Country)  are  the  most  fertile,  beautiful  healthy  and  varigated 
Lands  in  this  province,  or  perhaps  on  the  whole  Continent  of 
America,  Wartered  by  and  abundance  of  Springs  &  Rivulets 
without  Swamps  and  every  where  interposed  with  spacious 
Clearings  once  old  Indians  Feilds  or  French  plantations  fit  imme- 
diate Cultivation. 

This  district  is  Chiefly  Located  tho'  not  yet  much  settled  & 
Lots  may  be  purchased  here  on  very  moderate  terms ;  It  is  also 
proposed  to  lay  out  immediately  a  Township  with  Lots  Contig- 
uous to  the  same  on  part  of  the  King's  revinue  of  10000  Acres 
near  the  Fort  which  Lots  are  to  be  sold  at  vendue  next  Spring 
at  Pensacola,  or  on  the  spott. 


Present  State  of  the  River  Mississippi.  329 

It  may  here  be  well  worth  observing  that  there  are  many  Scat- 
tered English  Settlements  on  the  Eastern  side  of  the  River  as 
high  up  as  the  River  Yasous,  which  is  about  Fifty  Leagues  above 
the  Natchez  Fort  &  190  from  the  Sea  that  the  Lands  (if  possible) 
rather  improve  (in  beauty  at  Least  if  not  in  Fertility)  as  you 
proceed  from  the  Natchez  and  that  the  Mississippi  preserves  its 
wedth  &  depth  from  the  Sea  to  the  Yasous  being  every  where 
very  spacious  and  from  ten  to  thirty  fathom  Deep — its  Current 
is  very  Rapid  but  particularly  so  when  the  River  is  full,  which 
Rises  Annually  at  the  Natchez  Thirty  Six  feet  above  it  usual 
Height  and  then  its  Navigation  is  also  a  good  deal  incommoded 
with  floating  Logs  and  Trees. 

Mr.  George  Gaul's  general  directions  for  Sailing  from  the  Pen- 
sacola  Bar  to  the  Balyce 

The  Bar  of  Pensacola  lies  in  Lattude  of  30"  23  and  the  New 
Balye  in  29"! i  The  Course  by  the  Compass  is  about  S.W.  42 
Leagues,  but  it  is  best  to  Steer,  S.  W.  J^  W.  that  you  may  fall  a 
little  to  the  Norward  of  the  Balye;  and  never  stand  into  less  into 
12  fathom  Water  in  the  Night  time.  The  Soundings  immedi- 
ately of  the  Balye  are  very  deep  there  being  20  or  30  fathoms 
with  soft  Muddy  bottom,  within  a  few  miles  of  the  Shore.  The 
Land  about  the  Balye  is  very  low  and  marshy,  and  would  be 
very  difficult  to  be  known  if  it  was  not  for  the  House  and  flag 
Staff  which  is  a  remarcable  Object  and  appears  before  you  can 
well  see  The  land,  bring  it  to  bear  about  S  W  at  two  Miles  dis- 
tance, or  nearer  According  to  the  weather,  and  wait  till  the 
Pilot  comes  on  board. 

About  7  or  8  Leagues  N  N  W  from  the  Baly'c  lies  the  Island 
of  Grand  Gosiers,  the  S  point  of  which  is  in  29°  32  between  this 
Island  and  the  Isle  are  Breton  there  is  very  good  Anchorage  in 
35^  or  4  fathom  Water,  where  you  may  lie  Sheltered  from  the 
Easterly  Winds,  to  which  the  Enterance  of  the  Mississippi  is 
exposed.  If  you  should  find  Ocasion  to  go  there  you  may  range 
along  the  Island  of  Grand  Gosiers  in  3  or  4  fathoms  about  2  or  3 
Miles  of  its  Shore,  where  the  Soundings  are  regular,  and  you  will 
Observe  a  Spit  of  Breakers  running  from  the  SW  point  about  2 
Miles  in  lenght.  Keep  pretty  Close  to  the  W  extremity  of  that 
spit,  where  there  is  from  5  to  7  fathom  Water  Luff  up  round  to 
the  N  E  till  you  get  under  Shelter  of  the  Island  and  come  to  and 


330  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

Anchor.     It  is  very  Convenient  and  necessary  for  those  who 
frequent  the  Mississippi  to  be  well  acquainted  with  this  place. 

G  G 

A  Calculation  of  the  great  and  Certain  increase  to  be  made  in 
ten  years  by  the  Cultivation  of  Indigo  on  the  banks  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi supposing  a  planter  to  begin  with  ten  working  negroes 
that  each  slave  shall  make  120  pounds  of  Indigo  annualy  that 
the  planter  shall  yearly  approprieate  Eighty  pounds  thereof  (to 
be  sold  at  one  Dollar  pr  pound)  for  the  purchase  of  additional 
Negroes  at  200  Dollars  a  Head 

Anno.                  Negroes  on  Indigo  Negroes 

plantation.  Approd.  purchased. 

1777  10  800  4 

1778  14  "2°  6 
!779            20  1600  8 

1780  28  2240  ii 

1781  39  3120  15 

1782  54  4320  21 

1783  75  6oo°  30 

1784  105  8400          42 

1785  147  11760  59 

1786  206  16480          82 

82 


288  slaves. 
56  £  Sterling  for  Each  when  seasoned 


1728 
1440 

16128  real  property  in  slaves  at  the  Close  of  ten 
years. 

By  the  Above  Estimate  it  appears  that  the  planter  will  at  the 
Expiration  of  the  tenth  year,  be  posses'd  of  288  Slaves  which 
will  undoubtedly  (be  Season'd  ones)  be  worth  at  least  250  Dol- 
lars or  56  £,  Sterling  one  with  another  and  would  improve  his 
Original  property  therein  of  450  [  ]  to  that  of  16128  Ster- 

ling. 

Finished 


A  CONTRIBUTION  TO 
THE  HISTORY  of  THE 
COLONIZATION  MOVE- 
MENT IN  MISSISSIPPI 

By    FRANKLIN     L.     RILEY 


CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

I.  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH  OF  DR.  JOHN  KER. 

His  ancestry 337 

His  military  service 338 

His  subsequent  life 338 

His  character 340 

II.  LETTERS  OF  DR.  JOHN  KER. 

Natchez,  April  13,  1831.     To  R.  R.  Gurley 341 

Natchez,  July  21,  1831.    To  R.  R.  Gurley 345 

Natchez,  July  25,  1831.     To  Isaac  Thomas 348 

— ,  October  24,  1831.     To  Isaac  Thomas 353 

Natchez,  May  14,  1847.     To  Isaac  R.  Wade 356 

Natchez,  July  26,  1847.     To  Isaac  R.  Wade 358 

Good  Hope,  near  Natchez,  '49  or  '50.     To  William  Mc- 

Lain 3S8 

III.  LETTERS  TO  DR.  JOHN  KER. 

From  R.  R.  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  August  30,  1831  361 

From  R.  R.  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  January  i,  1836  365 
From  R.  R.  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  February  13, 

1837 366 

From  R.  R.  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  February  2, 

1842 368 

From  J.  P.  Parker,  Port  Gibson,  Miss.,  July  21,  1842. .  370 
From  Montgomery  &  Boyd,  Natchez,  Miss.,  August  i, 

1842 37' 

From  J.  P.  Parker,  Port  Gibson,  Miss.,  August  13,  1842  371 
From  C.  Whillasay,  Washington,  D.  C.,  September  29, 

1842 374 

From  W.  McLain,  Washington,  D.  C.,  October  n,  1842  374 

From  W.  McLain,  Washington,  D.  C.,  November  2, 1842  375 

From  R.  R.  Gurley,  -  — ,  November  29,  1842. .  376 
From  Quitman  &  McMurran,  Natchez,  Miss.,  December 

27,  1842 377 

From  R.  R.-  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  January  16, 

1843 378 

From  Quitman  &  McMurran,  Natchez,  Miss.,  February 

ii,  1843 379 

(333) 


334  CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

From  J.  P.  Parker,  Woodstock,  near  Port  Gibson,  Miss., 
February  21,  1843 379 

From  R.  R.  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  February  22, 
1843 380 

From  Quitman  &  McMurran,  Jackson,  Miss.,  March  24, 

1843 381 

From  W.  McLain,  New  Orleans,  April  4,  1843 382 

From  W.  McLain,  New  Orleans,  La.,  April  17,  1843.  . .  382 

From  R.  R.  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  May  i,  1843.  .  383 

From  J.  P.  Parker,  Port  Gibson,  July  13,  1843 384 

From  J.  P.  Parker,  Port  Gibson,  Miss.,  September  2, 

1843 384 

From  J.  P.  Parker,  Port  Gibson,  Miss.,  September  n, 

1843 385 

From  R.  R.  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  September  29, 

1843 386 

From  R.  R.  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  October  31, 

1843 387 

From  Mary  I.  Parker,  Woodstock,  near  Port  Gibson, 

Miss.,  January  i,  1844 388 

From  R.  R.  Gurley,  Washington,  D.  C.,  January  29, 

1844 388 

From  Zebulon  Butler,  Parmage,  —  — ,  July  8,  1844.  .  390 
From  J.  P.  Parker,  Woodstock,  near  Port  Gibson,  Miss., 

July  ii,  1844 392 

From  I.  T.  McMurran,  Jackson,  Miss.,  February  6,  1846  393 

From  I.  T.  McMurran,  —  — ,  January  23,  1847.  .  .  394 

From  Noah  Fletcher,  Washington,  D.  C.,  June  7,  1847 .  .  395 

From  W.  McLain,  Troy,  Ohio,  June  12,  1847 395 

From  R.  S.  Finley,  St.  Louis,  Mo.,  August  5,  1847.  . . .  396 
From  W.  McLain,  Washington,  D.  C.,  September  18, 

1847 399 

From  Hannibal  Ross,  Since,  West  Africa,  March  26, 1848  400 
From  Hector  Belton,  Sinoe,  West  Africa,  October  12, 

1849 401 

From  Jno.  A.  Watkins,  Rodney,  Miss.,  April  12,  1848. .   402 
IV.     MISCELLANEOUS  LETTERS  AND  PAPERS. 

— ,  September  28,  1842,  Agreement  by  and  be- 
tween Quitman  &  McMurran  and  John  Ker,  Atty. 
in  fact  for  A.  Col.  Society 402 


CONTENTS.  335 

PAGE 

Port  Gibson,  Miss.,  May  12,  1847.     From  H.  T.  Ellett 

to  Isaac  R.  Wade 4°3 

Since,  West  Africa,  -        -  23,  1848.     From  P.  Ross  to 

.    David  Ker,  Esq 4°S 

V      NEWSPAPER  ACCOUNTS  OF  MEETINGS  OF  THE  MISSIS- 
SIPPI COLONIZATION  SOCIETY. 
December  28,  1838.     The  Weekly  Courier  and  Journal 

(Natchez) 406 

June  13,   1839.     Mississippi  Free  Trader  and  Natchez 

Weekly  Gazette 408 

VI.     LEGAL  INTERPRETATIONS. 

Will  of  Capt.  Isaac  Ross 411 

Test  of  its  legality 412 

Opinions  in  behalf  of  the  American  Colonization  So- 
ciety    413 


A  CONTRIBUTION  TO  THE  HISTORY  OF  THE  COLONI- 
ZATION MOVEMENT  IN  MISSISSIPPI. 

BY  FRANKLIN  L.  RILEY. 

The  editor  of  these  publications  has  devoted  several  years  to 
collecting  materials  for  a  history  of  the  colonizatioh  movement 
in  Mississippi,  and  particularly  of  the  work  of  the  Mississippi 
Colonization  Society.  The  results  of  his  efforts  have  been  so 
unsatisfactory  that  he  has  decided  to  print  in  full,  as  merely  a 
contribution  to  the  subject,  the  materials  he  has  gathered, 
hoping  that  some  other  investigator  may  be  so  fortunate  as  to 
find  the  necessary  information  for  making  a  complete  history 
of  this  interesting  humanitarian  movement  in  Mississippi. 

I.  BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCH  OF  DR.  JOHN  KER. 

The  important  and  unselfish  part  taken  in  the  colonization 
movement  in  Mississippi  by  Dr.  John  Ker,  Vice-President  and 
Agent  of  the  American  Colonization  Society  and  Vice-President 
and  member  of  the  Executive  Committee  of  the  Mississippi 
Colonization  Society,  justifies  the  insertion  of  a  brief  sketch  of 
his  life  in  this  connection.  Although  none  of  the  three  obitu- 
aries now  in  the  hand  of  the  writer,  which  were  published  at 
the  time  of  his  death,  give  even  a  passing  reference  to  his  efforts 
in  behalf  of  colonization,  the  documents  here  published  justify 
this  recognition  of  his  services. 

Judge  David  Ker,  the  father  of  the  subject  of  this  sketch  and 
the  founder  of  the  family  in  Mississippi,  was  born  of  Scotch 
parentage  at  Down  Patrick,  North  Ireland.1  He  was  educated 
at  the  University  of  Dublin.  He  then  entered  the  ministry, 
becoming  a  member  of  the  Presbytery  of  Temple  Patrick  in 
the  north  of  Ireland.  In  1789  he  emigrated  with  his  wife, 
Mary,  to  North  Carolina.  In  that  year  his  name  appears  as  a 

'The  Kers  of  Scotland  are  a  very  ancient  and  historic  family.  They 
lived  for  the  most  part  along  the  border.  They  are  frequently  mentioned 
in  Walter  Scott's  "Tales  of  My  Grandfather."  We  are  told  that  "the 
Dukes  of  Roxburgh  and  the  Marquises  of  Lothian  are  younger  branches 
of  this  family."  See  Goodspeed's  Memoirs  of  Mississippi,  Vol.  Ill,  p. 
5"- 

(337) 


33^  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

member  of  the  Orange  Presbytery  of  that  State.  The  year 
following  he  resided  in  Fayetteville,  N.  C.,  where  he  served  in 
the  double  capacity  of  minister  and  teacher  in  a  classical  acad- 
emy. He  became  a  member  of  the  first  faculty  of  the  Univer- 
sity of  North  Carolina  upon  its  organization  in  1794.  Shortly 
thereafter  he  removed  to  Lumberton,  where  he  engaged  in 
mercantile  pursuits  and  studied  law  at  odd  times.  In  1800  he 
removed  with  General  Willis,  of  Lumberton,  to  a  place  in  Mis- 
sissippi near  old  Greenville  in  Jefferson  County.2  Shortly 
thereafter  he  was  appointed  clerk  of  the  territorial  court.  In 
1802  he  was  given  a  temporary  commission  as  one  of  the  terri- 
torial judges  of  the  Superior  Court  of  Mississippi.  In  Decem- 
ber of  that  year  Governor  Claiborne  wrote  to  President  Mad- 
ison as  follows: 

"Mr.  Ker's  appointment  has  given  much  satisfaction  to  a  large  majority 
of  the  citizens.  He  is  a  valuable  acquisition  to  the  bench."3 

About  a  month  later  he  was  given  a  permanent  commission, 
very  much  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  citizens  of  the  territory.4 

His  abiding  interest  in  the  cause  of  education  is  shown  by  the 
fact  that  he  became  a  member  of  the  first  Board  of  Trustees  of 
Jefferson  College  and  attended,  on  January  3,  1803,  the  first 
meeting  of  that  body.  He  was  also  appointed  a  member  of 
the  committee  to  select  a  site  for  the  new  institution.6 

He  died  in  1805,°  leaving  five  children,  two  sons  and  three 
daughters,  to  take  care  of  his  widow.  Mrs.  Ker  at  once  began 
teaching  in  order  to  support  and  educate  her  dependent  family.7 

Dr.  John  Ker  studied  medicine  several  years  in  Philadelphia. 
Returning  to  Mississippi  at  the  outbreak  of  the  Creek  war,  he 

2Fpr  a  sketch  of  this  interesting  and  long  since  extinct  town  see  Riley's 
"Extinct  Towns  and  Villages  of  Mississippi"  in  Publications  of  the  Missis- 
sippi Historical  Society,  Vol.  V,  pp.  345—347. 

3Claiborne's  Mississippi,  p.  238. 

4See  Owen's  "Federal  Courts,  Judges,  Attorneys,  and  Marshals  in  Mis- 
sissippi, 1798-1898,"  in  Publications  of  the  Mississippi  Historical  Society, 
Vol.  II,  p.  151. 

5See  Morrison's  "Early  History  of  Jefferson  College"  in  Publications  of 
the  Mississippi  Historical  Society,  Vol.  II,  pp.  179-180. 

'Claiborne  incorrectly  gives  the  year  1810  as  the  date  of  Judge  Ker's 
death. 

'The  sketch  here  given  is  based  on  the  following  authorities:  Clai- 
borne's  Mississippi,  pp.  141,  note,  231,  note,  and  238;  Goodspeed's 
Memoirs,  Vol.  I,  p.  1073,  and  Vol.  II,  p.  521 ;  Publications  of  the  Missis- 
sippi Historical  Society,  Vol.  II,  pp.  148,  149,  151,  179,  180. 


Biographical  Sketch  of  Dr.  John  Ker. — Riley.  339 

became  a  surgeon  of  the  brigades  of  Louisiana  and  Mississippi 
territory  volunteers.8 

During  most  of  the  campaigns  he  shared  the  privations  and 
hardships  of  his  comrades,  who  at  times  had  neither  blankets 
nor  tents.  This  resulted  in  the  permanent  impairment  of  his 
health.  His  service  in  the  Creek  war  was  rendered  conspic- 
uous by  the  fact  that  he  and  Lieutenant  Alexander  Calvitt  were 
sent  by  General  Claiborne  to  his  superior  officer,  General  Flour- 
noy,  to  urge  him  to  countermand  an  order  issued  to  the  vol- 
unteer forces  after  the  massacre  at  Fort  Mims  that  they  should 
act  strictly  on  the  defensive.  The  mission  was  successful  and 
the  volunteers,  who  had  chafed  under  the  restraining  order, 
immediately  marched  into  the  Creek  nation  and  completely 
crushed  the  power  of  the  enemy  in  the  bloody  battle  of  the  Holy 
Ground.' 

At  the  conclusion  of  his  military  service  he  settled  in  Natchez, 
where  he  soon  attained  prominence  in  his  profession.  In  the 
course  of  a  few  years,  however,  he  voluntarily  gave  up  his  prac- 
tice in  order  to  devote  his  time  to  his  extensive  planting  inter- 
ests. He  became  so  thoroughly  identified  with  his  new  occu- 
pation that  at  the  time  of  his  death  his  pastor,  Rev.  J.  B.  Strat- 
ton,  said  that  "he  is  chiefly  remembered  now  as  the  industrious, 
benevolent  and  honorable  planter."  He  represented  Adams 
County  in  the  upper  House  of  the  Legislature  during  one  term, 
but  public  life  was  so  distasteful  to  him  that  he  ever  afterwards 
declined  all  solicitations  to  offer  himself  for  public  office. 

In  1829  he  was  married  to  Miss  Mary  Baker.  To  them  were 
born  twelve  children. 

In  1830,  in  the  maturity  of  his  age,  he  became  a  member  of 
the  Presbyterian  Church  in  Natchez.  Owing  to  his  extreme 
diffidence  it  was  not  until  the  last  year  of  his  life  that  he  could 
be  induced  to  accept  a  church  office.  His  scruples  finally  gave 
way  at  the  repeated  solicitations  of  his  fellow  members  and  he 
was  ordained  a  ruling  elder  about  nine  months  before  his  death. 

8Claibprne's  Mississippi,  p.  320,  note. 

"Details  of  the  battle  of  the  Holy  Ground  will  be  found  in  Halbert  and 
Ball's  The  Creek  War,  pp.  241-265;  Claiborne's  Mississippi,  chapter  27- 
also  in  Pickett's  History  of  Alabama,  chapter  56.  An  account  of  Dr 
Ker's  service,  as  related  above,  will  be  found  in  The  Concordia  Intelli- 
gencer (Vidalia,  La.)  of  January  12,  1850. 


34°  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

In  the  latter  part  of  1849  Dr.  Ker  removed  with  his  family  to 
his  plantation  home  on  Lake  Concordia,  a  few  miles  from  Vidalia, 
La.  For  years  before  his  removal  he  had  spent  so  much  of  his 
time  in  Louisiana  looking  after  his  plantations  that  he  came  to 
be  looked  upon  by  the  citizens  of  that  State  as  one  of  their  num- 
ber. We  are  told,  however,  that  "he  had  been  so  thoroughly 
identified  with  Adams  County,  Miss.,  by  long  residence  and  oth- 
erwise, that  an  actual  change  of  citizenship  for  years  would  not 
have  been  enough  to  induce  the  people  of  that  county  to  relin- 
quish their  claims  on  him  as  a  citizen  of  their  community."10 

Scarcely  a  month  had  passed  after  Dr.  Ker's  removal  to  Lou- 
isiana when,  on  January  4,  1850,  he  died  suddenly,  surrounded 
by  his  family,  from  the  effects  of  a  disease  of  the  heart,  which 
had  several  times  threatened  his  life.  He  was  buried  in  the 
family  burial  ground  on  his  old  and  favorite  estate,  "Linden,"  in 
Adams  County,  Miss.  The  following  estimate  of  his  charac- 
ter is  taken  from  an  editorial  in  the  Concordia  Intelligencer,  to 
which  reference  is  made  above: 

"While  he  exacted  nothing  from  any  one,  his  clearly  denned  and  well 
understood  course  of  life  commanded  the  sincere  respect  of  every  one  who 
had  the  good  fortune  to  know  him.  There  never  was  an  instance  where 
the  respect  of  his  fellow  citizens  has  been  conceded  to  an  individual  with 
more  justice.  His  high  character  owed  nothing  but  to  the  purity  of  the 
native  elements  from  which  it  was  formed.  From  his  earliest  years, 
upward  and  onward  through  a  long  life  of  uniform  correctness,  his  vir- 
tuous deeds  have  entitled  him  to  the  highest  place  among  men.  He  was 
a  man  of  very  marked  character  and  we  could  wish  that  the  most  distin- 
guished civil  citizen  of  Adams  County,  whose  attachment  to  him  was 
widely  known  and  whose  counsel  he  always  followed,  would  sketch  that 
character  for  the  benefit  of  those  now  about  to  buckle  on  the  armor  of 
manhood.  It  would  do  more  to  point  a  moral  than  to  adorn  a  tale.  It 
would  raise  the  standard  of  integrity  by  elevating  the  cherished  object 
of  those  aspirations  that,  aiming  to  soar  high,  have  no  basis  save  the 
elevating  resolution  that  receives  its  strength  from  conscious  integrity. 
The  life  of  Dr.  Ker,  as  an  honest  and  honorable  man,  sketched  in  its 
veriest  detail,  would  not  present  a  stain  to  mar  the  consistency  with 
which  his  early  resolution  has  been  sustained.  But  even  this  does  not 
exhibit  the  fullness  of  his  character.  He  was  actively  good  and  never  was 
found  lacking  in  confidence  and  courage  to  do  good  or  to  do  rightly, 
how  threatening  soever  the  consequences  might  have  seemed.  The  pen 
that  might  trace  his  life  would  be  vindicated  in  these  positions  at  every 
stage  of  it." 

As  a  rule  obituary  notices  are  not  regarded  as  entirely  impar- 
tial. The  following  extract,  however,  written  by  Rev.  J.  B. 
Stratton,  Dr.  Ker's  lifelong  associate  and  friend,  is  said  to  con- 
tain a  true  estimate  of  Dr.  Ker's  character: 

10Editorial  in  The  Concordia  Intelligencer  of  January  12,  1850. 


Letters  of  Dr.  John  Ker. — Riley.  341 

"Few  men  at  the  end  of  sixty  years  can  look  back  over  a  life  as  unblem- 
ished, as  uniformly  distinguished  by  strict,  unbending  integrity,  hon- 
orable principle,  delicate  courtesy  and  simple,  childlike  truthfulness,  as 
was  Dr.  Ker  s.  Surrounded  with  peculiar  temptations  in  early  life,  he 
steadily  pursued  the  path  of  virtue.  He  dared  to  separate  himself  from 
the  corrupt  usages  of  the  day  and  chose  to  be  singular  rather  than  lose 
his  own  self-respect.  His  greatest  triumph  over  himself  and  the  world, 
however,  appeared  in  his  religion.  *  *  *  He  was  the  'just  man,' 
'the  upright  man,'  'the  righteous  man,'  'the  good  man.'  He  was  'the 
poor  m  spirit,'  'the  merciful,'  'the  peace-maker.'  *  *  *  Every 
enterprise  that  had  for  its  object  the  promotion  of  education,  religion, 
or  the  public  good  in  any  form  was  free  to  lay  a  claim  on  his  sympathy 
and  his  means." 

The  following  extract  is  taken  from  the  minutes  of  the  Exec- 
utive Committee  of  the  American  Colonization  Society  at  their 
meeting  on  the  i6th  of  March,  1850: 

"The  Executive  Committee,  having  heard  of  the  death  of  John  Ker, 
M.  D.,  late  of  Natchez,  Miss.,  one  of  the  Vice- Presidents  of  this  Society, 
unanimously  adopted  the  following  tribute  to  his  memory: 

"It  is  with  sentiments  of  heartfelt  sorrow  that  we  have  heard  of  the 
death  of  our  valued  friend  and  fellow  laborer  for  Africa's  welfare,  John 
Ker,  M.  D.  We  consider  his  death  a  bereavement  whereby  society  has 
lost  an  accomplished  gentleman,  the  cause  of  benevolence  a  bright  and 
able  advocate,  and  the  church  an  exemplary  and  noble  Christian.  His 
devotion  to  the  interests  of  this  society  was  worthy  of  all  commendation. 
One  of  its  earliest  friends  and  contributors,  there  was  no  sacrifice  which 
he  was  not  ready  to  make  for  it;  no  labor  demanding  zeal,  talent  and 
efficiency  which  he  was  not  ready  to  perform.  Long  should  the  Ross 
slaves,  now  freemen  in  Liberia,  cultivate  sentiments  of  the  liveliest  grati- 
tude to  him  as  the  chief  instrument  of  their  redemption.  And  long  may 
we  cherish  an  affectionate  remembrance  of  his  eminent  private  and  public 
virtues,  and  his  distinguished  exertions  in  the  cause  of  humanity. 

"We  tender  to  his  family  our  warmest  sympathy  in  their  deep  affliction. 

NOAH  FLETCHER,  Clerk." 

II.  LETTERS  OF  DR.  JOHN  KER.* 

TO    R.    R.    GURLEY.1 

NATCHEZ.     April  13,  1831. 

DEAR  SIR — I  am  uncertain  whether  I  ever  performed  the 
duty  of  acknowledging  the  rect.  of  your  favour  of  December 
last,  together  with  the  annual  reports  of  the  A.  C.  S.  from  the 
6th  to  the  1 2th  inclusive.  Recently  I  am  again  indebted  to 
your  kind  attention  for  some  copies  of  the  i3th  and  two  copies 

'The  letters  here  reproduced  were  kindly  loaned  to  the  editor  of  these 
Publications  by  Miss  Mary  S.  Ker,  of  Natchez,  Miss.,  daughter  of  Dr 
John  Ker. 

'Indorsed  No.  i,  J.  Ker  to  Mr.  Gurley. 


342  Mississippi  Historical  Society. 

of  the  1 4th  and  last  Report.  Ill  health  and  more  pressing  occu- 
pations must  apologize  for  my  silence.  Indeed  I  had  anxiously 
hoped  by  a  short  delay,  to  be  able  to  communicate  cheering 
information  in  relation  to  the  great  object  which  We  have  so 
much  at  heart.  The  ways  of  God  are  inscrutable ;  and  on  this 
occasion  We  are  called  upon  to  submit  to  disappointment  (at 
the  present)  in  the  most  sanguine  hopes  for  the  success  of  a 
cause,  which  I  cannot  and  will  not  doubt,  He  will  yet  ultimately 
and  signally  bless.  Our  session  has  closed  without  doing  any- 
thing in  favour  of  colonization.  Pretty  early  in  the  session  the 
subject  was  bro't  up  by  referring  the  Resolutions,  which  last  year 
passed  the  Senate,  to  a  joint  committee  of  the  two  houses. 
This  course  was  deemed  the  most  eligible  by  the  mover  of  the 
subject  in  the  House  of  Representatives  (Mr.  Porter)  princi- 
pally because  it  being  a  new  legislature,  even  the  same  resolu- 
tions would  require  to  be  readopted  by  the  Senate.  Mr.  Porter 
who  was  first  named  on  the  part  of  the  House  upon  the  com- 
mittee, and  I  on  the  part  of  the  Senate,  had  apparently  little 
difficulty  in  procuring  the  concurrence  of  the  other  members  of 
the  committee  in  our  views.  We  were  authorized  by  the  com- 
m